Shawwal moon shall be seen with rare hybrid total solar eclipse


Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, after the sighting of the new moon or crescent moon and is a major Islamic festival where “Eid” means “celebration” and “Fitr” means “breaking of the fast” and is celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, which is the month of fasting. The exact date of the festival varies each year, as Islam follows a lunar calendar that is based on the sighting of the new moon.

On this day, Muslims gather early in the morning for special prayers, known as Eid prayers, in mosques, open spaces or prayer grounds and after the prayers, people embrace and exchange greetings of “Eid Mubarak”, which means “Blessed Eid”. It is customary to wear new clothes, decorate homes, give gifts and share meals with family, friends and the less fortunate as Eid-ul-Fitr is a joyous occasion that signifies the end of a month-long period of fasting, prayer, and spiritual reflection and is a time for Muslims to come together in unity, forgiveness, gratitude and to celebrate the blessings of Allah.

This year, Ramadan to expected to get over on either Thursday, April 20 or Friday, April 21, 2023 and signal the beginning of Eid Al-Fitr with a treat for sky gazers and celestial body lovers since the new moon occurring on April 20 will be seen with a rare “hybrid” total solar eclipse in the southern hemisphere. A hybrid total solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon that only occurs once every few decades in specific locations on Earth.

The last hybrid solar eclipse occurred on November 3, 2013, visible over parts of the Atlantic Ocean, central Africa and the Indian Ocean while the next hybrid solar eclipse will occur on April 20, 2023, visible over parts of Australia, Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean. As per astronomical reports, the crescent moon will be just 0.2% lit just after sunset and almost certainly impossible to see for mere minutes after sunset on Thursday, April 20 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, the west coast of the US will most likely see it 1% lit and a little higher in the post-sunset sky about 10 hours later. On Friday, April 21, 2023 the crescent moon is much more likely to be sighted from everywhere around the world and it will be 2.4% lit from Mecca and generally much higher and brighter in the post-sunset sky while it will be about 4% from the west coast of the US.

A hybrid total solar eclipse, also known as an annular-total solar eclipse, is a rare type of solar eclipse that occurs when the moon is in a position where it appears to be smaller than the Sun. As a result, during the eclipse, the moon’s disk does not completely cover the sun, leaving a bright ring or annulus of sunlight visible around the moon’s silhouette.

The eclipse is known as “hybrid” because it transitions between a total solar eclipse and an annular solar eclipse along its path. This occurs because the curvature of the Earth causes the shadow of the moon to touch the surface in some areas and pass above the surface in others, creating a changing pattern of total and annular phases.


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