What Is Occultation and What Does Occultation Mean In Astronomy?

An occultation occurs when any celestial body obscures the sight of another by passing in front of it.

The word can be applied to stars, planets, asteroids, comets, and all other space objects.

Astronomical events which cause occultation include transits and eclipses.

Every time an occultation occurs, an eclipse also occurs.

During an “eclipse” of the Sun by the Moon, as seen from Earth, the Moon physically moves between Earth and the Sun, thus blocking out a portion or all of the bright disk of the Sun.

This phenomenon is usually referred to as an “eclipse”, but the term is a misnomer, because the Moon is not eclipsing the Sun.

Instead the Moon is occulting the Sun.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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