On Friday, August 5th, Slooh will broadcast a first of its kind event, taking part in the ancient Islamic tradition of Moon Sighting by pointing our telescopes in the Canary Islands at the rarely photographed New Moon.
During the live broadcast, Slooh host, Paul Cox, will be joined by a representative from the Council on Islamic-American Relations to explore the importance of the Moon, specifically the New Moon, to the Muslim faith. They’ll discuss the practice of Moon sighting, and explore the religion’s use of a lunar calendar rather than a solar one, as part of Slooh’s ongoing mission to provide viewers with a look at the vast perspectives and reactions to space across cultures, borders, and religions.
A lunar calendar might be a bit confusing to those who live their lives according to the calendars hanging on their walls. Unlike the Gregorian calendar months of August or September, which begin at standard, predictable days each year, the months of the Muslim calendar can only begin upon the arrival of the New Moon, or Hilal, on the 29th or 30th day of each lunar cycle. That arrival cannot just be determined by trusting in astronomical calculation, though. Instead, it must be physically sighted by a member of the faith and confirmed before the new month can begin and before holidays can be celebrated. Sighting of the New Moon can be done with both the naked eye, or with the assistance of binoculars or telescopes. This month, we’ll be adding our own group of telescopes in the Canary Islands to assist in the sighting of the Hilal.
Cox will also be joined by Slooh Astronomer, Bob Berman, to discuss the New Moon and why its proximity to our Sun makes it so difficult to view through a telescope. The New Moon arrives each month when the Moon moves between the Earth and the Sun. As it slowly moves out from the glare of the Sun, the Moon begins to wax into a crescent, and can be viewed both through Slooh’s telescopes, and eventually, by the unaided eye.