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View Full Version : The word "occultation" - used incorrectly?



Buttercup
2015-Jan-06, 02:25 PM
Don't mean to nitpick, but it's images like these:

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150104.html

I thought the definition of the word "occult" means hidden or to hide something. Rhea cannot possibly do that regarding Saturn, for sheer size.

I thought astronomers only used the word "occultation" when a larger body passes across a (visually) smaller one, like the Moon across Spica.

Thoughts?

swampyankee
2015-Jan-06, 02:31 PM
I thought the same thing: transits are when a visually smaller object crosses a visually larger one. Venus doesn't occult the Sun.

Buttercup
2015-Jan-06, 02:36 PM
I thought the same thing: transits are when a visually smaller object crosses a visually larger one. Venus doesn't occult the Sun.

Exactly. :) Thanks for mentioning "transit."

Hornblower
2015-Jan-06, 02:59 PM
Yes indeed, transit is the preferred word.

John Mendenhall
2015-Jan-06, 03:33 PM
Yes indeed, transit is the preferred word.

Agreed. Now we wait for a response from the writer of the story or banner.

schlaugh
2015-Jan-06, 04:13 PM
FWIW the text of the Rhea transit video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9Bg-9cors4)correctly uses the word "transit."

But I would not hold my breath waiting for a correction to the APOD page. :)