from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any object, natural or man-made, that blocks the light of an object from an observer, typically used in reference to astronomical events.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That which occults: specifically applied to the mechanism or device which, in lighthouses, periodically interrupts or occults the beam of light; also to the device used in heliographic signaling to interrupt or divert the beam of light reflected from the mirror of the heliostat, heliograph, or heliotrope.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The first 'occulter' spacecraft casts a perfectly controlled shadow onto the face of the second, carrying the mission instruments.

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  • In its place, NASA is considering a plan to design and launch an occulter and connect it with the James Webb Space Telescope, the highly sophisticated and very expensive successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and scheduled to launch in 2014.

    First Contact

  • But a year later, when I met Soummer in his office in Baltimore, the wedding of the Webb to an occulter looked far more promising than anyone could have imagined.

    First Contact

  • She grew especially animated about the possibilities of launching an “occulter”—a flat, football-field-sized, petal-shaped sunshade that Seager and others hope will one day be sent into deep space and aligned with a similarly stationary but space-based telescope.

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  • An occulter system may ultimately not be the technology selected for the job, but it is a serious contender.

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  • Both teams came up with what were considered to be feasible plans to use an occulter and a dedicated small space telescope together, and both were submitted in 2009 to NASA and to an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which every ten years reviews all branches of space science and, with input from the scientists, sets priorities for the next decade.

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  • He also came away with a wonderful connection to the ultimate solar system occulter, and a sense that even very small odds of success can sometimes pan out.

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  • But the future for the occulter, or something like the occulter, looked bright.

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  • One proposal, years in the making, involves sending into deep space a football-field-sized sunshade, that would then work in tandem with an orbiting telescope 35,000 to 50,000 miles away to create an “occulter.”

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  • Many technical and bureaucratic and especially financial challenges remained, but the occulter plan now had a little blue sky.

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