Monday, 1 August 2011

Crescent Observation Predictions For Ramadan 1432 AH (2011 AD)

Due to time constraints, I am unable to complete this article but please allow me to present the data (for Lahore, Pakistan) and two predictive pictures of the globe that might enable you to spot the crescent of 1432 Hijrah.

The predictive software that I use is quite precise (Accurate Times) in helping one look in the correct direction (azimuth) and height above the horizon (altitude of a celestial body).

But first, let us look at this interesting illustration of what various moon phases look like.

Data for 31 July 2011, Lahore:

Conjunction Time (birth of the new moon): 30 July 2011 at 23:40 PST
Moon Age: +19H 20M (even a 19 hours old crescent may not be visible)
Moon Altitude: +03°:02':25" (quite low on the horizon)
Moon Azimuth: +281°:13':06"
Moon Lag Time: +00H 14M (note 'very short time' between sunset and moonset)
PREDICTION: The crescent is NOT visible even with an optical aid.
Please click this link to see how THIN a crescent less than 20 hours old really is:
Here is what a crescent that is between 20 and 24 hours old looks like: 
And now a crescent that is more than 30 hours old (COMPARE all three links)

Data for 01 August 2011, Lahore:

Moon Age: +43H 19M (although quite old, it could only be seen after sunset)
Moon Altitude: +11°:05':06" (comfortable to look at)
Moon Azimuth: +270°:02':52"
Moon Lag Time: +00H 53M (note 'sufficient time' between sunset and moonset)
PREDICTION: The crescent is EASILY VISIBLE by naked eye.

As for the two pictures below (31 July and 01 August 2011), please note the legend in the bottom right hand side to see who will be able to see the crescent in which country.

As shown in the first picture, observing the crescent on 31 July 2011 is impossible in our region but will be possible on 01 August 2011. Therefore, unless Allah wills it otherwise, Ramadan of 1432 Hijrah will commence from 02 August 2011.

The diagram on the right depicts the phases of the moon as seen from the Earth.

With Eid around the corner I will return to this space with more useful information regarding lunar astronomy, especially with reference to problems relating to Islamic crescent observation methods.

Best wishes for the coming month of Ramadan.

©2011 Tahir Gul Hasan


ayesha said...

Great Information tgh, thank you. With the above Illustrations (thanks to you) its easy for any Muslim to identify crescent for their region.

In the old days: The Muslim practice was to look for a crescent moon (Hilal) at sunset when the human eye could detect the contrast between the dimly-lit first-day moon in the red glow of the horizon. There were no telescopes or binoculars, and the Muslims did not know how to calculate the conjunction.

In early days, the Muslims had no calendar. To begin the month, they were dependant on the local actual visual reports of a Hilal. If they missed the earliest sighting they would notice a gibbous moon on 3rd, 4th or 5th evening. The moon appeared quite high in the sky and thick. The shape created the suspicion that it might be of the previous evening. When the Messenger (pbuh) was asked about the validity of such a surmise he said: The moon is of the night when you see it (first). (Sahih Muslim). It was the first Muslim attempt to solve the issue of the first day of an Islamic month.

There is nothing unusual about 4-5 days old gibbous crescents to be visible in the western skies hours before the sunset. In Hadith collections and Fiqh books one finds “Seen BEFORE” or “Seen AFTER Zawaal” discussion (which appear more of conjecture nature.) These early reported instances could easily be explained as “delayed sighting.”

But then, Hadith??

TGH said...

Thanks for commenting in detail. Obviously you've been researching the subject ('Gibbous' moon and all that) which is commendable, chanda! :))
I guess this Ramadan I will write something on the subject. Trust me, I've reported my 'sightings' at two international sites quite regularly.
There's a load of material I've read and drawn some fine conclusions, talked with observant people and made friends with a few learned ones! Great experience overall.
You missed the RIDE in the previous blog, chanda.

Parvez A. said...

Quite informative and sister Ayesha added a lot to it... Kudos to both of you...

Tahir brother looking forward to read your next write-up on the same...

Thanks to both.

TGH said...

Thanks Abaan, for dropping by. Sure, watch this space for more info on the subject. :)

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for you too..

Who knew that Ramadan will not be complete without TGH's write up about the moon sighting...

Missed your satire in this one though.. looking forward to the next blog

TGH said...

Thanks but I couldn't MOON in this lunar issue. I must stay sober, well-dessed and all that goes into making me a perfect gentleman in under a month! :)