Ru’yah and Hisab: Marking the start of the month

2014 June Brunei Newsletter
2014 June Brunei Newsletter

Source: The Department of Information, Prime Minister’s Office,
 Brunei Darussalam Newsletter June 2014 (Download)

Predicting the first sighting of the new crescent has been attempted since the time of the ancient Babylonians. The ancient methods of moon sighting depended on the astronomical calculation of the Moon and the time difference between moonset and sunset.

The first sighting of the new crescent moon is used as the basis of various calendars to signal the start of the new month. For instance, Islam requires that the sighting of the new crescent moon should be made with the naked eye.

More modern techniques nowadays among others use the angular separation of the Sun and Moon, altitude difference between the Sun and Moon, as well as their relative azimuths and the width of the crescent. Continue reading “Ru’yah and Hisab: Marking the start of the month”

World Wide Development in Astronomy (WWDA) Visit to Brunei Darussalam

Report by Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, Ministry of Science & Technology, Thailand

Source: IAU Information Bulletin 109 (Download)

Background Information

Brunei Darussalam is a small Kingdom in South-East Asia located on the northern shore of the island of Borneo. The state’s major industry on petroleum makes Brunei Darussalam a prosperous and progressive country, with a population of approximately 400,000 (July 2010). Brunei has the second highest Human Development Index among South East Asia nations, after Singapore, and is classified as a Developed Country.

Boonrucksar Soonthornthum visited Brunei Darussalam during July 13-19, 2011 and Hakim Malasan, during July 16-19, 2011, with the following objectives:

  • To introduce the roles of South-East Asian countries for promoting and supporting the missions of World Wide Development in Astronomy (WWDA)
  • To introduce the recent development of Astronomy in South-East Asia especially the initiation of South-East Asian Astronomy Network (SEAAN) and the establishment of the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, which will serve as a national institute in astronomy in Thailand and one of the center for the international collaboration in astronomy in the South-East Asian countries
  • To promote the activity on the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) and encourage Brunei Darussalam to organise a national competition on Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad and send the national team to join the IOAA
  • To explore the astronomical activities organised in Brunei Darussalam, to promote astronomy to this country and to seek for the possible future collaboration both astronomy education and research

Continue reading “World Wide Development in Astronomy (WWDA) Visit to Brunei Darussalam”

Member of International Astronomical Union Meets PABD

Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum (IAU) with members of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam
Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum (IAU) with members of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam
Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum (IAU) with members of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam
Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum (IAU) with members of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam
Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum (IAU) with members of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam
Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum (IAU) with members of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam

Above: Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum (IAU) with members of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam. More Photos.

Bandar Seri Begawan – Brunei Darussalam Astronomical Society had a discussion with Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, Director of National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT), yesterday afternoon (16 July 2011).

Among the purposes of the meeting is to promote astronomy education and popularizing astronomy in this country. Boonrucksar who is also the national members of International Astronomy Union (IAU) wishes the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam, and Brunei in general, to establish cooperation with South-East Asian Astronomy Network (SEAAN). This network serves South-East Asian countries to collaborate and strengthen Astronomical research activities in this region.

Briefing on the International Astronomy Union information is also presented by Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum. He explained that “Thailand has become a national member of the IAU in 2006 and currently there are 70 countries or national members.” Currently, Brunei has not been a candidate to become the member of the IAU.

A report summary on Education and Popularisation of Astronomy Session in 10th Asia Pacific Regional IAU Meeting (APRIM). Brunei was reported having no Astronomers.
A report summary on Education and Popularisation of Astronomy Session in 10th Asia Pacific Regional IAU Meeting (APRIM). Brunei was reported having no Astronomers.

Download a full report documents_aprim2008

NARIT has a number of modern observatories. Among them is the Thai National Observatory is located in the Province of Chiang Mai houses a 2.4 meter telescope. Attract also established five fruits and k. Public Observatories One of the prototype is located in Southern Thailand (about the same latitude as Brunei) and Professor Boonrucksar Suggested that this observatoy to be one of the research center for Islamic Astronomy. These observatories are expected to be in operation in 2012, next year.

Present at the meeting were Exco PABD: Dk Ratna (Treasurer), Hj Julaihi (Deputy Secretary-I), Pg Shahdani (Deputy Secretary II) and Dyg Salmah (Exco member). Also participating in the discussions is Dr Dr Hj Norarfan Hj Zainal, Deputy Raes of Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (Kupu SB).

Download a full report IAU Information Bulletin Jan 2012 (Source http://www.iau.org/static/publications/IB109.pdf)

Visibility Predictions for the New Crescent Moon 1980 – 2030

This is a table computed by Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office computes and distributes predictions of lunar crescent visibility for Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam from Year 1980 until 2030.

Visibility Predictions for the New Crescent Moon are catagorised by
A Easily visible
B Visible under perfect conditions
C May need optical aid to find the crescent Moon
D Will need optical aid to find the crescent Moon
E Not visible with a telescope
F Not visible, below the Danjon limit

Download below:

THE DANJON LIMIT OF FIRST VISIBILITY OF THE LUNAR CRESCENT

By Louay J. Fatoohi, F. Richard Stephenson & Shetha S. Al-Dargazelli Department of Physics, University of Durham

When the distinguished French astronomer Andre Danjon was the director of Strasbourg Observatory, he became engaged in determining the light curve of the Moon. In 1931 he noticed that the Moon of August 13, which was only 16.2 hr before new, extended only 75-80° from cusp to cusp. In other words, Danjon found that the outer terminator of the crescent was considerably less than a complete half-circle, which it should have been theoretically. This was not an isolated observation because other observations, and also examination of previous records, showed that this shortening of the crescent was a general and real phenomenon. Danjon also noticed that the shortening diminishes as the angular distance of the Moon from the Sun increases.

Records for Young Moon Sightings

By Bradley E. Schaefer*, !mad A.Ahmadt and LeRoy Doggettt
*NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 66I, Greenbelt, MD 2077I, t lmad-ad-Dean
Inc., 4323 Rosedale Ave, Bethesda, MD 208I4 and t Nautical Almanac Office, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C. 20390 (Received I992 June 29; in original form I992 April 9)

We examine various claims of record and near record young moon sightings. We
find that the claims for 1916 May 2, 1895 July 22, and 1910 February 10 were made
under cloudy skies, hence the reports are likely to have an error in the date of
observation. Similar problems with the reported date have occurred for the claimed
sightings on I885 December 11, I989 May 5, and 1991 September 7· Other reports
from 1989 May 5 are shown to have reported incorrectly the moon’s position and
orientation, and so the observed source was not the moon. Of the reliable reports, the
record for sightings with the unaided eye is I 5·4 h by Julius Schmidt, while the record
for sightings with optical aid is 13 h 28 min by Robert C. Victor. We find that the
reliable reports can be sharply distinguished from the dubious reports based on such
factors as observer experience, promptness of report, and observer preparation.