MIT's Infinite Corridor and Its Solar Alignment, MIThenge

MIT's "Infinite Corridor" Aligns With the Sun Each Year to Create MIThenge 

MIT's "Infinite Corridor" Aligns With the Sun Each Year to Create MIThenge 

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
May 12 2015 12:15 PM

MIThenge: The Solar Phenomenon of the Infinite Corridor


Photo: Frank Hebbert/Creative Commons

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Running nearly the entire length of the MIT campus from the east end to the west, the ambling hallway known to students as the "Infinite Corridor" is not only so packed that it has its own informal traffic laws, but, more spectacularly, is occasionally the site of a celestial phenomenon known as MIThenge.

The never-ending hallway threads 825 feet (or 127 smoots, to be more accurate) through each of the major buildings of the Massachusetts school, often being referred to as the complex's "spinal cord." With labs and classrooms radiating off of the main thoroughfare all the way down, it is not only one of the most direct routes to disparate parts of the school, but one of the most crowded. During peak times, such as when classes let out, the school has had to instruct travelers to increase their speed and stay to the right to keep from clogging the institution's main artery.


When the corridor is not over-stuffed with bumping backpacks, a rather lovely occurrence can be observed a few times a year. Thanks to the hallway's nearly exact east-west orientation, it occasionally lines up perfectly with the sunrise and sunset in a display known as "MIThenge." During the alignment, which occurs twice a year, around January and November, students are asked to be courteous as to where they stand so that everyone can enjoy the blinding view.

Given the school's focus on engineering and industrial science, it seems strangely fitting that an exemplar of institutional building design should produce such a lovely show.

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