Some interesting facts for viewing Ramadan crescent

Night sky landscape and moon, stars, Ramadan Kareem celebration. (Shutterstock)

The month of Ramadan is calculated according to the lunar calendar. The lunar months are either 30 or 29 days, while the Gregorian months extend to 30 or 31 days, except February which is 28 or 29 days.

This is why the starting date for the month of Ramadan changes from year to year.

The lunar cycle around the earth is 27.321 days, then few more days so that the moon can get back to its early stage, the crescent, announcing the beginning of a new month.

However, spotting time for the crescent of Ramadan varies from one country to another. Traditionally, Arab and Islamic countries prefer to observe the rise of the crescent with the naked eye or by using binoculars, while others resort to astrological calculations.

There are three stages for the sight of the crescent. At first, the crescent becomes visible before sunset, ending its monthly cycle around the earth and starting a new cycle.

The second stage, the sun sets and the crescent remains above the western horizon. At the third stage, the crescent remains in the sky for at least half an hour after sunset.

The crescent should be observed at the beginning of the month and not at its end. It can be seen with the naked eye within 12-15 hours after rising using a telescope.

To see the crescent clearly, it must be observed from a high place, away from structures that can obstruct the vision like mountains, hills and high buildings.

In the Gulf region, many natural factors may also obstruct spotting the rising crescent, such as humidity and dust.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49