Big fan of running a few numbers on the ole’ Gram? You’re gonna want to get your ass up to the eastern end of the Melbourne CBD this evening. The Victorian capital is running absolutely perfect conditions to cop one of the rarest and most spectacular sunsets on the calendar, and its one that we have a 181-year-old town plan to thank.
Tonight’s the night Melbourne cops what’s colloquially known as Melbhenge; a rare, once-a-year event where the setting sun lines up perfectly with the streets of the city’s famed Hoddle Grid, creating a spectacular, uninterrupted sunset framed by Melbourne’s skyscrapers.
Named for Stonehenge, where the sun aligns with the historic UK structure’s boulders during the northern hemispheric summer solstice, tonight’s Melbhenge sunset occurs when the sun sets at exactly 250 degrees west, putting it in perfect alignment with the CBD grid designed by Robert Hoddle in 1837.
Melbourne is one of the few cities in the world that gets to experience the phenomenon, with New York City copping by-far the most famous of the lot with its well known Manhattanhenge sunsets.
Researchers at Swinburne University are actively trying to map the best vantage points for the relatively unknown Melbourne version, and are encouraging people who manage to capture the sunset to share their images using the #MelbHenge hashtag so an interactive map can be compiled.
The sunset is set to begin in earnest at around 8:15pm this evening, with the best vantage point in the city arguably being the steps of Parliament House on Spring Street, which sports an uninterrupted, downhill view of Bourke Street, right through the city.
A decidedly less spectacular Melbhenge sunrise is set to occur in May for those rising up early enough to trek down to the western side of the CBD.
The full Melbhenge sunset occurs once a year on, or around, the same date every year, so if you miss tonight’s event you’ll have to wait until 2019 to check it out.
No filters, mates. Tonight the city’s putting on one of its own for you.