Adhika Masa & Visual observations of the sky

Periodic insertion of Adhika masa (intercalary month), inserted about every 2.8 years, ensures the visual observation of the sky matches with recognition of the lunar months for civic and religious purposes.

The following list would enable readers to understand the rationale for insertion and also its frequency (average ~2.8 years).

Reader should follow naming of the lunar month (lunar Pornima) per Kalanirnaya (panchang) and compare it with the corresponding Nakshatra. Readers may take it as quick calendar test to see if they can identify for themselves what would have happened if there was no insertion of periodic Adhika masa.

List below has 100+ Full moon days (since 2007 CE) with nakshatra(s) of full moon and lunar month name(s).

  Date              Nakshatra (Full Moon)                                              Lunar Month (Kalanirnay)  

3-Jan-07     between Ardra & Punarvasu                                                          Pausha
2-Feb-07     Ashlesha                                                                                        Magha
3-Mar-07     P Phalguni                                                                                      Phalgun
2-Apr-07      Hasta                                                                                              Chaitra
2-May-07     Swati                                                                                              Vaishakha
31-May-07  Jyeshtha                                                                                         Jyeshtha (Adhik)
30-Jun-07   between P Ashadha & U Ashadha                                                Jyeshtha (Nija)
30-Jul-07    Dhanishtha                                                                                     Ashadha
28-Aug-07  between Shatabhishaj & P Bhadrapada                                         Sharvan
27-Sep-07  U Bhadrapada                                                                                Bhadrapada
26-Oct-07   between Revati & Ashwini                                                              Ashwin
24-Nov-07  Krittika                                                                                             Kartik
24-Dec-07  Ardra                                                                                               Margashirsha
22-Jan-08  Pushya                                                                                            Pausha
21-Feb-08  Magha                                                                                            Magha
22-Mar-08  between U Phalguni & Hasta                                                         Phalgun
20-Apr-08  between Chitra & Swati                                                                  Chaitra
20-May-08  Anuradha                                                                                      Vaishakha
18-Jun-08  between Mula & P Ashadha                                                          Jyeshtha
18-Jul-08   Shravan                                                                                         Ashadha
17-Aug-08  between Dhanishtha & Shatabhishaj                                            Shravan
15-Sep-08  P Bhadrapada                                                                              Bhadrapada
15-Oct-08   Revati                                                                                           Ashwin
13-Nov-08   between Bharani & Krittika                                                          Kartik
12-Dec-08   Mrigashirsha                                                                                Margashirsha
11-Jan-09   Punarvasu                                                                                    Pausha
9-Feb-09   between Ashlesha & Magha                                                         Magha
11-Mar-09   P Phalguni                                                                                   Phalgun
9-Apr-09     Chitra                                                                                            Chaitra
9-May-09   Vishakha                                                                                       Vaishakha
8-Jun-09   between Jyeshtha & Mula                                                             Jyeshtha
7-Jul-09   between P Ashadha & Shravan                                                     Ashadha
6-Aug-09   between Shatabhishaj & Dhanishtha                                            Shravan
4-Sep-09   P Bhadrapada                                                                              Bhadrapada
4-Oct-09   U Bhadrapada                                                                                Ashwin
2-Nov-09   between Bharani & Ashwini                                                            Kartik
2-Dec-09   Rohini                                                                                           Margashirsha
1-Jan-10   between Punarvasu & Ardra                                                          Pausha
30-Jan-10   between Pushya & Ashlesha                                                         Magha
28-Feb-10   between Magha & P Phalguni                                                       Phalgun
30-Mar-10   Hasta                                                                                               Chaitra
28-Apr-10   Swati                                                                                      Vaishakha (Adhik)
28-May-10   between Jyeshtha & Anuradha                                             Vaishakha (Nija)
26-Jun-10   P Ashadha                                                                                   Jyeshtha
26-Jul-10   Dhanishtha                                                                                   Ashadha
25-Aug-10   Shatabhishaj                                                                              Shravan
23-Sep-10   between P Bhadrapada & U Bhadrapada                                   Bhadrapada
23-Oct-10   between Revati & Ashwini                                                            Ashwin
22-Nov-10   Krittika                                                                                           Kartik
21-Dec-10   Ardra                                                                                             Margashirsha
20-Jan-11   between Punarvasu & Pushya                                                     Pausha
18-Feb-11   Magha                                                                                            Magha
20-Mar-11   U Phalguni                                                                                     Phalgun
18-Apr-11   Chitra                                                                                               Chaitra
17-May-11   between Vishakha & Anuradha                                                       Vaishakha
15-Jun-11   Mula                                                                                                Jyeshtha
15-Jul-11   between U Ashadha & Shravan                                                        Ashadha
14-Aug-11   between Dhanishtha & Shatabhishaj                                             Shravan
12-Sep-11   P Bhadrapada                                                                              Bhadrapada
12-Oct-11   between U Bhadrapada & Revati                                                  Ashwin
11-Nov-11   Bharani                                                                                         Kartik
10-Dec-11   Mrigashirsha                                                                             Margashirsha
9-Jan-12   Punarvasu                                                                                       Pausha
8-Feb-12   Ashlesha                                                                                         Magha
8-Mar-12   P Phalguni                                                                                       Phalgun
7-Apr-12   between Chitra & Hasta                                                                  Chaitra
6-May-12   between Swati & Vishakha                                                           Vaishakha
4-Jun-12   between Jyeshtha & Mula                                                                Jyeshtha
4-Jul-12   U Ashadha                                                                                       Ashadha
2-Aug-12   Dhanishtha                                                                                     Shravan
31-Aug-12   between P Bhadrapada & Shatabhishaj                               Bhadrapada (Adhik)
30-Sep-12   between P Bhadrapada & Revati                                          Bhadrapada (Nija)
30-Oct-12   Ashwini                                                                                            Ashwin
28-Nov-12   Rohini                                                                                              Kartik
28-Dec-12   between Ardra & Punarvasu                                                       Margashirsha
27-Jan-13   between Pushya & Ashlesha                                                            Pausha
25-Feb-13   between Magha & P Phalguni                                                          Magha
27-Mar-13   between U Phalguni & Hasta                                                           Phalgun
26-Apr-13   Swati                                                                                                 Chaitra
25-May-13   Anuradha                                                                                        Vaishakha
23-Jun-13   P Ashadha                                                                                        Jyeshtha
22-Jul-13   Shravan                                                                                            Ashadha
21-Aug-13   Shatabhishaj                                                                                   Shravan
19-Sep-13   between P Bhadrapada & U Bhadrapada                                    Bhadrapada
19-Oct-13   Revati                                                                                             Ashwin
17-Nov-13   Krittika                                                                                               Kartik
17-Dec-13   Ardra                                                                                               Margashirsha
16-Jan-14   Punarvasu                                                                                         Pausha
15-Feb-14   Magha                                                                                                 Magha
17-Mar-14   U Phalguni                                                                                         Phalgun
15-Apr-14   Chitra                                                                                                   Chaitra
14-May-14   Vishakha                                                                                           Vaishakha
13-Jun-14   Mula                                                                                                    Jyeshtha
12-Jul-14   between U Ashadha & Shravan                                                           Ashadha
10-Aug-14   Dhanishtha                                                                                           Shravan
9-Sep-14   P Bhadrapada                                                                                  Bhadrapada
8-Oct-14   between U Bhadrapada & Revati                                                         Ashwin
7-Nov-14   Bharani                                                                                                  Kartik
6-Dec-14   between Rohini & Mrigashirsha                                                          Margashirsha
5-Jan-15   between Ardra & Punarvasu                                                                 Pausha
4-Feb-15   Ashlesha                                                                                                 Magha
5-Mar-15   P Phalguni                                                                                            Phalgun
4-Apr-15   Hasta                                                                                                      Chaitra
4-May-15   between Swati & Vishakha                                                                  Vaishakha
2-Jun-15   Jyeshtha                                                                                                Jyeshtha
2-Jul-15   U Ashadha                                                                                         Ashadha (Adhik)
31-Jul-15   Shravan                                                                                            Ashadha (Nija)
29-Aug-15   Shatabhishaj                                                                                      Shravan
28-Sep-15   U Bhadrapada                                                                                   Bhadrapada

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2 thoughts on “Adhika Masa & Visual observations of the sky

  1. Out of the long list how many month names ‘match’ the nakshatra on Purnima day? Even with provision of Adhik masa, (which now-a-days is decided entirely on the basis of Sun’s transit from one rashi to another and not related to nakshatra on purnima day), the mismatches appear to be quite numerous, probably more than matches. (It will take some effort to count them out!). The popular notion that the nakshatra on pournima ‘matches’ the month name is not statistically proved!

  2. I do not know what you mean by ‘the popular notion’. Of course, ordinary people are almost/totally clueless ‘what it means when someone says this is lunar month of Chaitra’, etc. However, I have not come across anyone (among astronomy community) who thinks that match is exact between position of full moon and nakshatra after which lunar month is named. If someone claims that or demands it, then they know very little about the motion of the moon, most difficult motion to predict among all the visible planets.

    So I am not clear why you are under the impression that someone somewhere is claiming perfect (or even statistically acceptable) match between nakshatra, full moon and corresponding nomenclature.

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