Assalamu alaikum, it’s that time again, time for Moon Bits for the upcoming (Inshallah) month of Rabi-al-awwal. Per moonsighting.com’s Rabi-al-awwal page:
The Astronomical New Moon is on Thursday February 3 at 2:31 UT. On Feb 3 it can only be seen in North America. On Feb 4, it can be seen all over the world except New Zealand and Australia. Northern Australia may see it with difficulty (See visibility curves).
Per http://www.sunrisesunset.com, the sunset and moonset time for my city of Winter Haven are as follows:
Sunset: 6:08 PM
Moonset: 6:54 PM
The New Moon is 9:32 PM on 02/02/2011, which would make the moon about 21 hours old at sunset this evening. The time lag between sunset and moonset is 46 minutes, which would, per other knowledgeable people on this matter, make the moon a bit difficult to see, though perhaps not impossible. I’m not sure of all of the measurements used for predicting the visibility of the hilal other than lag between moonset and sunset and the age of the moon at sunset, and at any rate, they don’t make sense to me anyway.
Anyway, it is possible that the moon might be seen tonight, and if not, the month of Rabi-al-awwal will start 02/05/2011, if the moon is sighted, it will start tomorrow 02/04/2011. According to Islamicfinder’s hijri calendar, which is according to Makkah/Ummul Qura, Rabi-al-awwal starts tomorrow 02/04/2011.
So there you go. Inshallah, I’ll be back later on to update this post once sightings (or lack of them) start coming in.
Update 02/04/2011 2:46 PM EST: Per moonsighting.com, Islamicmoon.com, and crescentwatch.org, there were confirmed moon sightings in California last night 02/03/2011, thus making the start of the month of Rabi-al-awwal Friday 02/04/2011. This would make the 29th day of Rabi-al-awwal, and thus the next time to go out and look for the moon of Rabi-at-Thani 03/04/2011, making the start of that month either 03/05/2011 or 03/06/2011.
I did, however, find the below item taken from islamicmoon.com quite interesting.
News Alert: Rabi al-Awwal 1432 Hilal might NOT be visible on Feb. 3 in most of the world including USA and Canada because a) moon’s age in N. America: 18-23 hours b) Its angle: 9.9 -11.4 degrees, c) Its Altitude: 9-10.6 degrees
The most likely places where Rabi-1 Hilal might become visible on Feb. 3 are in south-western California : LA, San Diego,San Francisco, etc.) The likely date for sighting in N. America is Feb. 4 evening, making Feb. 5, 2011 the first date of Rabi-1
Saudi First date is: Feb. 4, 2011 (Friday). The moon sets 24 minutes after the sunset on Thu.Feb. 3 evening in Makkah. It CANNOT BE VISIBLE anywhere in Saudi Arabia
This seems to suggest that the authors of islamicmoon.com felt it would be unlikely for the moon to be visible last night. As it happened, though, the moon was sighted, and it seems that whether or not you’re following the calculated Ummul Qura/Makkah calendar or actual naked eye sighting, we are all starting the month of Rabi-al-awwal on the same day.