When is Eid 2023? Next week’s ‘Shawwal Moon’ will end Ramadan with a rare ‘hybrid’ total eclipse of the sun
When Ramadan end in 2023? The month-long dawn-to-dusk Ramadan fast will end this year on Thursday, April 20 or Friday, April 21, 2023 and mark the start of Eid Al-Fitr.
Why this confusion over dates? Blame the Moon and a rare type of total solar eclipse.
The exact dates of the months of the Islamic calendar are tied to the movements of the Moon, with the first sighting of the next crescent Moon triggering the end of Ramadan and the start of the three-day festival of Eid al-Fitr (the “Feast of break the fast “).
However, this particular New Moon, which occurs on April 20, is rather special because it also causes a “hybrid” total solar eclipse in the southern hemisphere.
What is a ‘Shawwal Moon?’
Muslims call this auspicious crescent moon the “Shawwal Moon” because it occurs in the tenth month of the Islamic calendar, which is based on the phases of the Moon. Its observance begins Eid Al-Fitr.
The “Shawwal Moon” can occur just hours after the astronomical New Moon. During the New Moon, our satellite is lost in the glare of the Sun and completely invisible, but as it crawls between the Sun and the Earth, its member becomes visible. When it briefly emerges in the west just after sunset as a wafer-thin crescent and, most importantly, is sighted, it’s the “Shawwal Moon.”
When is the ‘Shawwal Moon?’
It is likely to be Thursday April 20 or Friday April 21, 2023, although this depends on where it is observed. For example, on Thursday, April 20 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the crescent Moon will be only 0.2% illuminated just after sunset and almost certainly impossible to see for a few minutes after sunset, although that it is 1% illuminated and a bit higher in the sky after sunset as seen from the west coast of the United States about 10 hours later, so more likely to be seen. On Friday, April 21, 2023, the crescent Moon will be 2.4% illuminated from Mecca and generally much higher and brighter in the sky after sunset (and about 4% from the west coast of the United States ), so much more likely to be seen from anywhere in the world.
Eid Al-Fitr should therefore begin on Friday, April 21, 2023.
When and where does the “hybrid” solar eclipse take place?
The New Moon will also cause First solar eclipse of 2023. Mid-morning on Thursday, April 20, 2023 – as seen only from Exmouth in Western Australia, southeast East Timor and northwest West Papua in Indonesia – the New Moon will appear to cross the Sun. It will block 100% of the Sun from the central part of a very narrow path of totality (25 miles wide), causing a dramatic total solar eclipse.
Why is it a “hybrid” solar eclipse?
It’s called a hybrid solar eclipse because it goes from annular (a “ring of fire”, where the Moon appears smaller than the Sun, so doesn’t block all of its light) to a total ( where the Moon appears slightly larger, thus blocking all light from the Sun), then reverts to annular. It is caused by the curvature of the Earth bringing this part of the path closer to the Sun. However, in this case it is simply a description of the path of the eclipse as it changes from total to annular or annular to total – what eclipse hunters will see is a total solar eclipse as a other, just a very short one.
The longest totality – during which the spectacular corona of the Sun will be visible as the sky turns into twilight – will be 76 seconds in Timor Leste. Around 50,000 people will make the trip to see the show in Western Australia while around 375,000 live on the way to totality.
I wish you clear skies and big eyes.