- Astronomy. the passage of one celestial body in front of another, thus hiding the other from view: applied especially to the moon's coming between an observer and a star or planet.
- disappearance from view or notice.
- the act of blocking or hiding from view.
- the resulting hidden or concealed state.
Origin of occultation
Examples from the Web for occultation
On this evening there was to be an occultation of a star at the moon's dark limb.Sir William Herschel: His Life and Works
Edward Singleton Holden
The disappearance of a star by the interposition of the moon is called an "occultation."Great Astronomers
R. S. Ball
The phenomenon illustrated is called the "occultation" of the planet.The Story of the Heavens
Robert Stawell Ball
I was, in particular, struck with the effect of the occultation of Principle on motives.The Monikins
J. Fenimore Cooper
An occultation of Mercury by Venus was observed with a telescope on May 17, 1737.Astronomical Curiosities
J. Ellard Gore
- the temporary disappearance of one celestial body as it moves out of sight behind another body
- the act of occulting or the state of being occulted
Word Origin and History for occultation
early 15c., "disguise or concealment of identity," from Latin occultationem (nominative occultatio), noun of action from past participle stem of occultare "to hide, conceal," frequentative of occulere (see occult).
- The passage of one celestial object in front of another, temporarily blocking the more distant object from view. Occultations can provide information about the existence and measurements of the obscuring object. For example, when an asteroid passes in front of a star, the star is temporarily obscured to an observer on Earth, thus revealing the presence and approximate size of the asteroid. In 1977, astronomers were able to identify the rings around the planet Uranus when the otherwise invisible rings were observed to occult a background star. Occultations have also led to the discovery of more distant objects in space, such as binary stars and extrasolar planets. Compare transit.