Exclusive: How UAE experts spotted Ramadan crescent moon on Wednesday

Almost half of the Muslim world will try and spot the moon tonight to ascertain the start of the holy month – which, in the UAE, will be Thursday, March 23


Sahim Salim

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Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@AstronomyCenter
Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@AstronomyCenter

Published: Wed 22 Mar 2023, 10:24 AM

Last updated: Thu 23 Mar 2023, 12:16 AM

The first image of the crescent Moon that signals the start of the holy month of Ramadan has been released. Abu Dhabi-based International Astronomical Centre said the Moon was photographed at 8.15am on Wednesday over the UAE Capital.

Mohammad Odeh, director of the centre, was among the three experts who captured the image that clearly shows the crescent against the morning sky.

He explained to Khaleej Times: "The crescent can be spotted any time after the moon rises, which happened at 6.51am this morning. The moon and stars are not usually visible in the daytime because of the bright sunlight, [so] we have to wait for the sun to set."

The centre uses powerful astronomical cameras to capture images of celestial bodies even during the day. "This is done through a process called astro imaging," he said.

Here is another image captured by the centre after sunset today:

The holy month of Ramadan will begin in the UAE on Thursday, March 23. The moon-sighting committee said the crescent moon was not spotted on Tuesday (March 21) night. Islamic months last for 29 or 30 days, depending on when the moon is sighted.

Odeh highlighted how many countries will look for the crescent tonight. "Almost half of the Muslim world will try to spot the Ramadan crescent tonight. So images like the one we captured will let them know in advance that the crescent is there and can be seen."


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