Helpful Hints for Muslim Moon-Watchers
So you are sure you have
seen the new moon (Hilal) today after the sunset.
Before telling others
(giving your Shahadah for Ramadan and Eidian dates) be sure to note:
when did you see it
how did the moon look
where in the sky (to
the right, above or to the left of the setting sun
of what shape
for how many minutes
were you able to show
it to others
did you use a binocular or telescope to
were you able to take a digital
On 29th day a moon will never be
seen before sunset or within the first 8-10 minutes of the sunset. The Sun’s
glare on the lower horizon makes it impossible for human eye to detect dimly
lit thin crescent moon.
Generally, you can locate it with an
ordinary binocular on the lower western horizon where the Sun had set a few
If you really did see a Hilal it will not
disappear in seconds or even in minutes. You should be able to see it again
until it goes down below the horizon.
If you could see it, then almost everybody
with you could also see it. Similarly, every moon-watcher located west of
you (within moon’s visibility parabola) should be able to see it.
If it nobody else could see it or a few others claim to see but not all present
at the same location then probably ‘sighters’ have mistaken something else for a
A Hilal is always visible on 30th
evening. If it is NOT SEEN on 30th day after the sunset then
certainly the beginning of the Islamic month was WRONG.
Use our “Hilal Observation
Report Form”. Fill all the details as quickly as possible to avoid
misstatements. Your Shahadah may crucial for others to start Ramadan and
Some modern astronomical
Schaefer, B. E., 1988:
"Visibility of the Lunar Crescent", Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical
Society, Vol. 29, pp. 511-523.
Schaefer, B. E., Ahmad,
I. A., Doggett, L. E., 1993: "Records for Young Moon Sightings", Quarterly
Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 34, pp. 53-56.
Ilyas, M., 1994: "Lunar
Crescent Visibility Criterion and Islamic Calendar", Quarterly Journal of the
Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 35, pp. 425-461.
Doggett, L. E.,
Schaefer, B. E., 1994: "Lunar Crescent Visibility", Icarus, Vol. 107, pp.
M. B. Pepin, 1996: "In
Quest of the Youngest Moon", Sky & Telescope, December 1996, pp. 104-106.