Calculating the Conjunction: No Computer? No Problem!
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and divinity,” Romans 1:20 (Restored Names Version)
What a blessed time to live on this precious but fallen planet! Knowledge is increasing at unparalleled speed and the guidance of Yahushua’s Holy Spirit is refining and preparing all of His Father’s children who are anxiously awaiting His return! Every pillar of Truth will be restored.
WLC has been promoting His Luni-Solar Calendar for some time now; however, we lament and repent of the fact that we were initially blinded to the correct method of beginning the month, which is the most important part! We no longer believe that the day after the first visible crescent is New Moon Day. After much prayerful study, WLC has come to the conclusion that the only lunar phase that can be the New Moon is the moment immediately following the Dark Phase, otherwise called the Astronomical New Moon or Conjunction. This is because the moon begins gathering light immediately following its conjunction with the sun. The fact that this cannot be seen does not negate the reality that the moon is now rebuilding. Conjunction occurs when the Moon and Sun appear approximately in the same location of the sky from any vantage point here on Earth. Therefore, no reflection of the sun’s light is seen on the moon’s surface. This monthly occurrence is sometimes punctuated with full or partial solar eclipses when the moon passes precisely in front of the sun. This beautiful phenomenon was most recently witnessed by much of Australia on November 13, 2012. (Note: Solar eclipses are sight-specific and not seen globally because they depend on the path of the shadow the moon casts on the Earth.)
Conjunction happens at a specific point in time no matter where
you are located on Earth. The exact timing
of Conjunction is quite easy to calculate using modern technology or
the methods employed by the Ancients. These
two facts make the moment immediately following Astronomical New Moon
(Conjunction) the most appropriate candidate for the Biblical New Moon. Using the Dawn after Conjunction for
your specific area is the only method that World’s Last Chance is aware of that
can unite the whole world on one revolution of the earth.
A total solar eclipse seen from Ellis Beach north of Cairns in far north Queensland, Nov. 14, 2012. (AAP Image/Brian Cassey)
WLC believes that the dawn for your location after UTC Conjunction is when New Moon Day begins for you. Again, Conjunction takes place at a specific time and it is the same moment for everyone on Earth. It is generally recorded in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). You simply need to convert the time given in UTC to your local time.
Example: Conjunction occurs on January 11, 2013 at 19:44 UTC. For Cairo, Egypt (UTC +2), Conjunction occurred on January 11 at 21:44 (9:44 PM) local time. This would mean that New Moon Day began on January 12 at 5:27 AM (Astronomical Dawn).
For your convenience, WLC has published all future Conjunction times through 2023 in the article, “Future Lunar-Solar Conjunction Dates (2013-2023).”
Now you know the time of Conjunction for your location, but when is the cut-off point? Scripture is clear that a day begins at Dawn, and in keeping with this Biblical premise, WLC employs Astronomical Dawn (hereafter referred to as "Dawn") for the end of one date and beginning of the next day. With that being said, this point in time also serves as the fulcrum for when New Moon Day begins. If Conjunction happens before Dawn, then New Moon Day begins at Dawn. If Conjunction happens after Dawn, then New Moon Day begins at the following Dawn. This methodology truly allows Yahuwah and the celestial system that He set in place to be the arbiters of time and it allows Him to create the date line.
Example: Once you have converted the UTC of Conjunction to your local time, if Conjunction happens before Dawn on February 10th for your location, even just a few minutes before, then New Moon Day begins at Dawn on February 10th for you. If Conjunction happens after Dawn on February 10th, even just a few minutes after, then New Moon Day begins at Dawn on February 11th for you. Thus, the entire world will have begun New Moon Day on the same revolution of the earth.
Some objections have been raised against the idea of using Conjunction as the reference point to begin the months. Many Lunar Sabbatarians insist on relying solely on visual sightings of the Moon to determine the month start even though history shows that calculation played an integral role. Perhaps, the most common argument, and an objection that WLC espoused only a short time ago, is that one cannot actually see the event of the Conjunction; therefore, it must be dismissed. However, as we just explained, solar eclipses are visible Conjunctions, so actually they can occasionally be seen, and they are very predictable. Examining artifacts and methodologies used by the Ancients reveals that the beginnings of months as well as their durations were known long in advance. The formulas needed to predict the motions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun differ very little from the ancient methods. The mathematical formulas are the same.
So, you might be saying, “Well, our modern technology is great for predicting the New Moon but just how did the Ancient Hebrews accurately predict the lunar-solar Conjunction?”
Yes, our varying modern technologies make for very effective aids in finding Conjunction, and yet even the simplest and most common household tools can be deployed in predetermining the time at which Conjunction takes place. Yahuwah has given His faithful living today a plethora of sophisticated tools and tested knowledge for studying and understanding the machinations of the heavens. We can and should use everything available to aid in our comprehension of the movements of the sun, moon, and stars. Being that the movements and phases of the moon are very precise and dependable, it makes them function just like a giant clock in the sky. We can observe the moon’s phases as they wane from the last quarter phase to the ever shrinking crescents and measure the decreasing distances between them and the rising sun in the east. Instead of only a single opportunity to sight the first visible crescent (FVC), we have the ability to perform several measurement sightings in the days after the Sabbath on the 22nd of the Lunar Month. The measurements are accomplished best around or slightly before sunrise. Here are the steps:
1(a). While holding a measuring tape or ruler that is graded in centimeters and held at arm’s length, measure the angular separation between the sun on the horizon and the waning crescent moon. Take several readings and record them. Just be sure to measure from the center of the sun to the center of the moon.
1(b). In the absence of household tools, and because we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” all anyone truly needs is their hands. When viewed at arm’s length, your hand and fingers make a perfect measuring tool for angular separation! Because our body's proportions are scaled to the order of all Creation using the Golden Mean (1:1.6), it makes no difference what your physical stature is. Positioning one’s hands at arm’s length provides a surprisingly accurate tool for measuring the angular separation, or distance in degrees, between the sun and the moon.
A person’s pinky finger viewed at arm’s length is very close to a 1° angular separation. The index, middle, and ring fingers together represent a 5° separation, while a clenched fist displays 10°. 15° and 25° angles can be measured using the distances between the pinky and index fingers and pinky and thumb respectively. For greater accuracy, be sure to measure between the two inside edges of the sun and moon.
A - A pinky finger is very close to a 1° of angular separation.
B - The index, middle, and ring fingers together represent 5° of angular separation.
C - A clenched fist displays 10° of angular separation.
D - With four fingers spread apart, the distance between the pinky and index fingers represent 15° of angular separation.
E - Pinky and thumb extended as far as possible represent 25° of angular separation.
2. The next step is relatively simple math. Here is a brief explanation of the formula.
It takes the Moon 27.322 days to travel 360°; this is called a sidereal month. Therefore, the moon travels 13.17° per day. By then simply dividing 13.17° by the 24 hours in a day, we can know that the moon travels 0.55° per hour.
Now, back to our measurements. Take the average reading and divide that number by 0.55; the resultant number reveals how many hours from the time of the measurement until Conjunction.
3. Then, if necessary, divide that number by 24 to see how many days until the Conjunction.
Example: You have accurately measured that the Sun and Moon have an angular separation of 25°.
Simply divide 25° by 0.55° (how many degrees the moon travels in one hour), which equals 45.45. This is how many hours until Conjunction! EASY!
Then, if necessary, you can also divide 45.45 by 24 (number of hours in a day) to see how many days away it will be. 45.45 hrs. ÷ 24 hrs. = 1.89 days away from Conjunction at the time of the measurements.
We can rest assured that the ancient peoples of every culture had a much greater understanding of the heavenly luminaries than the average person does today. Yahushua’s Holy Spirit is restoring in our hearts every divine institution. Yahuwah has providentially designed each of us with the tools and mind necessary to calculate the time of Conjunction with ease and accuracy. All praise be to Yahuwah and His Blessed Son!
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
For You formed my inward parts;You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
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