August 20, 2019

17.08.09: A Ramadan Moon.

Slender New crescent Moons are always a fun and interesting challenge to spot…but this week’s crescent Moon is special. For the astronomy challenge of the week, I give you a Ramadan Moon. The Muslim calendar is one of several that are lunar based, meaning that it follows a cycle of complete phases of the Moon through one synodic month, which is 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 3 seconds long, respectively. This means that any given lunar calendar falls about 10-12 days per year out of sync with the Gregorian solar based one. Ramadan, (“or Ramazan,” as its known in Turkey) begins at sunset with the sighting of the Hilal or crescent New Moon and is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

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AstroEvent of the Week: 04.06.09: An Easter Full Moon.

This months’ Full Moon on Thursday is a special one. Known variously as the “Pink” or “Egg” Moon, April’s Full Moon also shares the distinction this year of being an Easter or Paschal Moon, as well. Current tradition sets Easter in the Christian calendar as the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Vernal (or Spring Equinox). All this means is that the date of Easter is highly variable, falling as early as March 22nd, a day after the date set by the church as ecclesiastical equinox, March 21st. In fact, the equinox can vary by a day or two!

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