RIYADH — There is no possibility to sight the Shawwal crescent on Thursday, Ramadan 29, corresponding to April 20, and hence Eid Al-Fitr could fall on Saturday, April 22, according to the International Astronomical Center (IAC).

The Abu Dhabi-based astronomical body said in a statement on its Twitter account that said that its prediction is based on astronomical information and that the exact date of the Eid will only be confirmed by the concerned authorities based on the sighting of the new moon.

The sighting of the crescent on Thursday evening is very difficult as it requires a precise telescope, a professional observer, and exceptional weather conditions. “Sighting the crescent next Thursday is not possible with the naked eye from anywhere in the Arab and Islamic worlds. Seeing the crescent on Thursday is not possible with a telescope in most Arab countries, with the exception of parts of West Africa starting from Libya, and therefore Saturday will most probably be the first day of Eid Al-Fitr,” it said in the statement.

The vision remains very difficult and requires an accurate telescope, a professional observer and exceptional weather conditions, the center said while noting that the combination of these factors rarely occurs, and therefore the crescent is not expected to be seen even using a telescope from anywhere in the Arab world.

IAC stated that due to the possibility of seeing the crescent with a telescope from some parts of the Islamic world on Thursday, and due to the occurrence of conjugation before sunset, and the setting of the moon after sunset in all regions of the Islamic world, it is expected that the majority of the countries of the Islamic world would likely to announce the start of the month of Shawwal on Friday.

As for countries that require correct sighting with the naked eye only or correct local vision with a telescope, they are expected to continue observe fasting to complete 30 days, and therefore Eid al-Fitr will be on Saturday for them, the center added.

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