Natural phenomenon ‘Chicagohenge’ returns this weekend

The phenomenon happens twice a year, resulting in the sun lining up with the city’s east and west streets.

SHARE Natural phenomenon ‘Chicagohenge’ returns this weekend
“Chicagohenge” is when the setting sun lines up with the city’s street grid, as seen in this picture taken in the Loop on Saturday, March 20, 2021, looking west on Washington from Michigan Avenue.

“Chicagohenge” is when the setting sun lines up with the city’s street grid, as seen in this picture taken in the Loop on Saturday, looking west on Washington from Michigan Avenue.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Chicago residents will have a reason to take a walk this weekend to experience the phenomenon known as “Chicagohenge.”

Twice a year the sun perfectly lines up with Chicago’s east- and west-facing streets at sunrise and sunset, illuminating buildings with a yellow and orange glow, according to the Adler Planetarium.

The phenomenon starts Saturday and is expected to be seen through Tuesday. On Saturday, the sun is expected to rise at 6:53 a.m. and the sun will set at 7:03 p.m., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website.

It can be seen during the Spring Equinox and the Autumn Equinox, which is when the planet’s equator receives the most sunlight, according to the planetarium. When that happens, the Northern and Southern hemispheres get the same amount of day and night.

Because of Chicago’s grid system, the sun will set and rise and line up with the city streets facing east and west, according to the planetarium. Anyone can catch a glimpse by going to one of these streets and looking east or west, according to the planetarium.

Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust. 

“Chicagohenge” is when the setting sun lines up with the city’s street grid, as seen in this picture taken in the Loop on Saturday, March 20, 2021, looking west on Washington from Michigan Avenue.

“Chicagohenge” is when the setting sun lines up with the city’s street grid, as seen in this picture taken in the Loop on Saturday, looking west on Washington from Michigan Avenue.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

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