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Old 07-16-2013, 09:42 AM   #21
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: The Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains
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It seems to me there's possibly a bit of confusion between the astronomer's definition of new moon and a lay person's. The astronomer defines it as the instant when the sun and moon are aligned (more precisely, it is the instant when the moon and sun have the same ecliptical longitude), as noted several times above, whereas a lay person may define it as the first time it is visible to the naked eye, which must occur just after a sunset. In fact, this is very important to Muslims who define their months and certain holy days by a lunar calendar. Ramadan might start on different days in different parts of the world depending if the crescent moon was visible or not.

Edit: I forgot to add that the youngest new moon is actually visible only during a solar eclipse.

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