oc·​cul·​ta·​tion | \ ˌä-(ˌ)kəl-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce occultation (audio) \

Definition of occultation

1 : the state of being hidden from view or lost to notice
2 : the interruption of the light from a celestial body or of the signals from a spacecraft by the intervention of a celestial body especially : an eclipse of a star or planet by the moon

Examples of occultation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

With next week's launch, radio occultation satellites are essentially moving from pilot program to mature technology. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "Weather Forecasts Will Soon Use Weird, Bendy GPS Signals," 18 June 2019 The occultation revealed that Ultima Thule is either shaped like a rubber duck, looking a bit like two mounds squashed together. Loren Grush, The Verge, "On New Year’s Day, a spacecraft will zoom by the most distant object humanity has ever visited," 27 Dec. 2018 These eclipsing events, known as occultations, have allowed the mission scientists to better understand the true shape and size of the object. Loren Grush, The Verge, "New Horizons sees you, Ultima Thule," 29 Aug. 2018 Members of the New Horizons team crisscrossed oceans and continents, hoping to observe these occultations when the stars briefly vanished as MU69 passed in front of them. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Tiny Moon May Orbit Distant Object That NASA’s New Horizons Probe Will Visit," 12 Dec. 2017 The team was able to spot the rings by using 12 telescopes from 10 different laboratories on Jan. 21, 2017, as Haumea passed in front of a distant star, a process known as occultation. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Ring discovered around egg-shaped dwarf planet Haumea," 11 Oct. 2017 For lucky sky-watchers across North America, the pair will be so close in the sky that Aldebaran will appear to slip behind the lunar disk in an event known as an occultation. National Geographic, "Planets Align, and 9 More Can't-Miss Sky Events in September," 1 Sep. 2017 Everything was potentially its mundane self and the occultation of itself, invested by the divine. Melik Kaylan, WSJ, "‘Noah’s Beasts: Sculpted Animals From Ancient Mesopotamia’ Review: Everyday Divine," 18 July 2017 The events, called occultations, happen when the object blocks out the star and casts a tiny shadow on Earth. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "New Horizon’s Next Target Is an Oddly Shaped Asteroid," 10 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'occultation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of occultation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for occultation

Middle English occultacion, borrowed from Latin occultātiōn-, occultātiō "concealment, interruption of light from a celestial body," from occultāre "to prevent from being seen, conceal, keep secret" + -tiōn- -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at occult entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about occultation

Statistics for occultation

Last Updated

27 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for occultation

The first known use of occultation was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on occultation

Britannica English: Translation of occultation for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about occultation

Comments on occultation

What made you want to look up occultation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a small bunch of flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!