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17 sepember 2009 01:15
Idul Fitri To Fall On Sept. 20: Lapan Astronomer
Jakarta - The first day of the Idul Fitri festivity will fall on September 20, based on astronomical calculations, according to an astronomer of the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan).
"The calender was wrong in mentioning that Idul Fitri will fall on September 21-22, because Idul Fitri will fall on Sunday (Sept. 20)," Dr. Thomas Djamaluddin, a senior researcher of Lapan Astronomy-Astrophysics, told ANTARA News on Wednesday.
The ijtima` (conjunction) of the beginning of Syawal (the tenth month according to the Islamic lunar calender) will occur on September 19, 2009, at 1.45 am Western Indonesian Standard Time (WIB), so that by maghrib (sunset), the moon will be quite high, namely more than four degrees over Indonesian territory, when hilal (crescent) will most likely be sighted, he said.
It means that September 20 is the beginning of Syawal, which is Idul Fitri, according to him.
However, the confirmation would be made after a crescent monitoring meeting (itsbat) and would be announced by the religious affairs minister, Djamaluddin, a member of Rukyat (crescent sighting) calculation body of the religious affairs ministry, said.
The itsbat meeting will be participated in by representatives of Islamic organizations, Lapan, the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB)`s Bosscha Observatory, the Jakarta Planetarium, the Meteorological, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the National Coordinating Agency of Survey and Mapping (Bakosurtanal) and rukyat experts.
Muslims all over the world, including around 200 million in Indonesia, will celebrate Idul Fitri after fasting (absent from food and drink from before sunrise to sunset) for a month.