Eid Al Fitr 2023: Crescent moon of Shawwal will not be visible to naked eye tonight, says IAC

25 astronomers from 13 countries have issued a joint statement regarding the sighting of the crescent

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Published: Thu 20 Apr 2023, 11:52 AM

Last updated: Thu 20 Apr 2023, 1:15 PM

A group of 25 astronomy experts from 13 Arab countries have jointly declared that the crescent moon in the month of Shawwal cannot be seen today (April 20, Thursday), with the naked eye in the Arab and Islamic regions.

Astronomers acknowledge that there is currently confusion regarding the sighting of the Eid Al Fitr crescent on the evening of Thursday, April 20, 2023, with conflicting opinions on whether it will be visible or not.

The International Astronomy Centre in a statement pointed out that: "It should be noted that this statement is not intended to determine the exact date of Eid Al Fitr, as it is influenced by a variety of factors, including both jurisprudential and scientific considerations. The purpose of this statement is to provide some scientific clarifications regarding the issue of crescent sighting."

The statement indicated that the presence of the crescent in the sky for a short period after sunset is not sufficient to say that it can be seen. "Merely observing the crescent moon in the sky for a brief period after sunset is not a reliable indicator of its visibility.

"The duration of its appearance and its age alone are also inadequate in predicting its sighting. Other factors such as atmospheric conditions, the moon's position in its orbit, and the angle between the moon and the sun are crucial in determining the visibility of the crescent moon."

International Astronomy Centre statement reads: It is important to note that the issue of crescent sighting has been a topic of discussion among our esteemed scholars, and our Muslim ancestors established several criteria for sighting the crescent through practical observations. These standards are still rigorously followed today and are known for their accuracy in determining the possibility of seeing the crescent with the naked eye.

In fact, all previous standards, old and new, show that seeing the crescent on Thursday is not possible with the naked eye from the Arab world. This expectation is not an opinion of a person or a party, but rather it is a consensus of specialists.

Returning to the crescent on Thursday, April 20, let us look at its situation in some Arab and Islamic cities. At sunset: In Jakarta, the moon is 2.7 degrees from the sun (the internationally agreed limit for Danjeon is 6 degrees). In Abu Dhabi, it is 4.7 degrees from the sun. And in Mecca, it is 5.1 degrees away from the sun. In Jerusalem, the moon is 5.4 degrees away from the sun. In Cairo, the moon is 5.5 degrees away from the sun. In Dakar (Senegal), the moon is 8.0 degrees away from the sun, and it can be seen with instruments.

In view of all the scientific standards considered for the crescent and published in peer-reviewed periodicals, we would like to point out that seeing the crescent is not possible with the naked eye in the Arab or Islamic world, and is not even possible using telescopes in most of them, and most of them are less than the 'Dangon' limit.

Some countries are content with mathematical calculations to determine the moon's position relative to the sun and do not require actual sighting of the crescent. In addition, these countries are content with the possibility of observing the crescent from anywhere in the world that shares the same night as them. Therefore, it is perfectly alright for these countries to celebrate Eid Al Fitr on Friday, April 21, if they choose to do so.

As for countries that require local (correct) vision only with the naked eye or countries located in Asia that accept local vision with a telescope, it is assumed that the number of Ramadan will be 30 days and that Eid Al Fitr will be on Saturday, April 22.

This, and announcing the beginnings of the Hijri months is, of course, the prerogative of the legal authorities in Islamic countries.


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