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International Astronomical Center

Applications of Astronomical Calculations to Islamic Issues
Book Review

This volume contains the papers presented at the First Emirates International EAS-ICOP Conference as well as some other facets of the conference, including its final recommendations, introductions by the editors (one in English and one in Arabic), the list of talks and participants, etc. The conference witnessed the gathering of over 100 participants and sometimes up to 100 additional people in the audience, including local teachers and students. Although announced less than 6 months earlier, the conference received more than 50 papers, about 40 of which were accepted through a semi-rigorous refereeing process.

The proceedings volume is divided into two parts: the English part, which contains 9 papers and the abstracts of the 10 papers in Arabic, and the Arabic part which does the reverse. The lengths of the various papers relate to the amount of time given to the presenters in each case or to the fact that the paper was included in poster form only. It is unfortunate that several of the papers that were presented were not submitted in time by their authors and thus do not appear in this volume and that the rich discussions that took place around some of the papers could not be summarized here. We do, however, encourage everyone to contact the participants directly to obtain copies of the (few) papers that can be found in this volume. As to the contents of the volume, they reflect the four themes developed in the conference:

  1. Crescent visibility and its criteria was addressed by the largest fraction of presenters. The papers ranged from reviews of the current knowledge on that topic (e.g. Fernini’s paper) to newly developed criteria (e.g. Odeh’s) and proposed methods of crescent observation or detection (e.g. Riazi’s RGB method, Al-Shidhani’s center of real-time crescent observation data, Joachim Schulte in den B?umen’s Lunar Crescent Observation Telescope, and Hayman’s Islamic Lunar Observation Satellite Project), not to mention those that were presented at the conference but not submitted for the proceedings.
  2. The Islamic calendar, with the presentation of the Abderrazik/Shaukat proposition of a truly unified calendar under one simple rule and the counter-proposition by Guessoum and Odeh of a bi-zonal calendar.
  3. The status of astronomical education in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Unfortunately the number of presentations on this topic was rather small, and the proceedings contains only one – albeit very good – paper, that of Abdo.
  4. The Islamic astronomical heritage, with a number of papers presented, much heated discussion around some of them, and several of them published in this volume.

We the editors hope that the papers published in this volume will constitute, at least partially, a faithful reflection of the conference deliberations, that it will be useful to researchers everywhere and encourage many to explore such topics in novel and fruitful ways. We invite feedback and discussions about the contents of this volume, as well as suggestions for the main themes of the next conference, slated for early 2009.

The book consists of 192 Arabic pages and 113 English pages. The weight of the book is 770 g.

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