Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Observers in the Arab world will be able to sight the crescent moon for the month of Muharram for the new Islamic year 1443 about 30 minutes after sunset on Monday (Aug. 9), Arab News reported.
The new moon can be seen with the naked eye in the western horizon when the sky is clear.
Muharram which one of the four sacred months is the first month of the Hijri calendar and will begin on Tuesday (Aug. 10), the moon sighting committee said after holding a meeting.
Authorities in most Islamic countries have announced the day as a public holiday, including in Indonesia which shifted it to Wednesday (Aug. 11).
Majed Abu Zahira, the head of the Astronomical Society in Jeddah, said the moon will have moved away from the glare of the sunset and become higher in the sky compared to the previous night, and a few degrees away from Venus and Mars.
After a few nights, he said, observers will notice that the unlit side of the moon’s surface is illuminated by a faint light, which is the light of the sun reflected from the earth and falling on the moon.
Abu Zahira said that the moon reached the conjunction phase on Sunday at 4.50 p.m. local time (1:50 p.m. GMT), ending its conjunction cycle around the earth and beginning a new conjunction cycle.
Day after day, he added, observers will notice that the crescent moon will increase its luminosity, rise higher in the sky at sunset, and it will stay longer after the beginning of the night, because the moon is moving away from the sun.
Abu Zahira pointed out that we see the moon moving toward the west every day because of the earth’s rotation on its axis, but the actual movement of the moon is toward the east in relation to the stars and planets as it revolves around the earth.
“So, by watching the moon over the coming nights, it will be a guide for determining the locations of the bright stars and planets in the night sky,” he said.
Reporting by Indonesia Window