'Milwaukeehenge': How to catch a glimpse of the twice-a-year phenomenon

’Milwaukeehenge’: How to catch a glimpse of the twice-a-year phenomenon

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The clouds broke by sunset Monday night, giving Milwaukee a glimpse of a cool phenomenon in the sky. 

It happens twice a year, and some have started calling it the "Milwaukeehenge."

The sun set at 7:04 p.m. Monday night, perfectly centered on Wisconsin Avenue, a golden orange sun going down on this first day of spring. 

Fun fact: any east-west street would give you the same look -- city buildings acting as modern-day henges here in Milwaukee, and elsewhere, too. 

"I've seen photos of Chicagohenge, as they call it on social media, and I thought I would give it a try in Milwaukee," said Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photographer. 

Mike De Sisti's one of the first with the hashtag #Milwaukeehenge. His pictures from last fall got a lot of attention as they also had quite a view.

"To be able to see it rising and setting between the skyline, between the buildings," said De Sisti. 

And that's the beauty of it. The colorful sun, perfectly centered like an orange ball between Milwaukee architecture. The Milwaukeehenge coincides with the first day of spring and first day of fall for a reason.

"So, the buildings become kind of these markers, these big markers just like Stonehenge 5,000 years ago where they built big stone slabs, put them up, put them over and the sun would rise directly east as a way to make a calendar so they knew when spring would begin," said Bob Bonadurer, director of the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theatre & Planetarium.

We got a look at the original stone henges, courtesy of the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theatre & Planetarium. And while henges have served a purpose for thousands of years, the existence of a Milwaukeehenge is relatively unknown. 

By late afternoon, with cloudy skies, we couldn't find anyone who even heard of it. 

If you missed it, no worries. The henge will move only slightly in the next 24 hours, so grab your cameras and set your alarm for sunrise at 6:53 a.m. and sunset at 7:05 p.m.

"So, it'll still work for a few days before spring and a few days after. But it's just kind of a neat way to mark time with kind of our modern buildings or houses," said Bonadurer. 

One more fun fact about the spring solstice -- it's the one day when everyone around the world, all 9 billion of us, has 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night.

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