oc·​cul·​ta·​tion ˌä-(ˌ)kəl-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce occultation (audio)
: the state of being hidden from view or lost to notice
: 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 This will favor people farther to the west, where the moon will be higher above the horizon at the time of the occultation. Phil Plait, Scientific American, 5 Jan. 2024 Exactly how long the occultation lasts will depend on the size of the star and asteroid, which are not precisely known. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Dec. 2023 However, the weirdest sky event this month has to be the occultation by an asteroid of Betelgeuse—the star in Orion that’s famous for being the likely next supernova in our cosmic neighborhood. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 The shadow passes over Patagonia at 60,000 mph, and the team already failed in their two previous attempts to see this shadow, called an occultation. Eric Betz, Discover Magazine, 9 Nov. 2017 People in a narrow band from Mexico and southern Florida to southern Europe and Eurasia will be able to watch the occultation, per Space.com’s Brett Tingley. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Dec. 2023 An occultation of a star of Betelgeuse’s brightness can be seen from Earth only every few decades, per Sky & Telescope. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Dec. 2023 Using data gathered from the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers at MIT witnessed two occultation events from the innermost planets, TRAPPIST-1b and 1c. John Wenz, Discover Magazine, 20 July 2016 The most recent occultation in July last year was observed by Ko Arimatsu at Kyoto University in Japan and colleagues. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 21 May 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'occultation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near occultation

Cite this Entry

“Occultation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occultation. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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