Sometimes optical instruments are preferred over the naked eye for their abilities as they accurately make sure an observer is certain of the crescent sightseeing. That’s because the crescent appears very faintly thin and like a thread of light which can hardly be seen clearly especially if the sky is not clear.
Calculations vs. Observation?
It appears that there is an argument about whether to calculate or to observe the crescent of the lunar months’ beginnings.
Some Muslim countries prefer sightseeing only like Saudi Arabia, while Albania and Turkey prefer to only Calculate. On the other hand, Egypt prefers to do both sightseeing and calculations as this makes sure the calendar is perfectly accurate as well as making sure the Islamic regulations are obeyed.
Sightseeing has its advantages as it is easy and simple; making it the available way for any observer to conduct. Yet, observation either with naked eye or via telescopes has its major problems, as they won’t help in cloudy days and unclear sky climates.
That’s why some Muslim countries prefer both sightseeing and calculations, knowing that the results of calculations are very accurate as modern astronomical calculations went far into accuracy.
Calculating the start of Ramadan or any lunar Hijri month is not a sophisticated procedure which can be done nowadays with very simple and free computer softwares and simulators. Calculations are so accurate that they can have all variables included even the light refraction and light pollution.
In some cases, the start of the Hijri months varies in different Muslim countries even when the calculations and observations are right, this is a case in which different horizons can have different beginnings of the lunar months.
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Modern Technology & the Crescent
Lately, different scientific conferences suggested the idea of observing the crescent with satellites while some researchers suggested using radio telescopes for observing the crescent which can definitely help with unclear skies. Using radio telescopes can make observing the crescent from air polluted cities 100% possible.
Modern science develops everyday while scientists and researchers are trying to find the best solutions for deciding the starts of the Hijri months and the welcomed holy guest, Ramadan.
This article is from our archive originally published on an earlier date, and now re-highlighted for its importance
- The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System
- Thot, god of the moon
- “Sebaha Fada’iah Fi Afaaq Ilm Al-Falak“, Dr. Muhammad Ahmad Sulaiman, 1999, Egypt.