Stellar Occultations

  • Oliver Montenbruck
  • Thomas Pfleger


In the course of a day the Moon covers about 13° of its orbit, moving from West to East across the sky. This motion is easiest to see when its orbit takes it close to bright stars. It is particularly striking when a stellar occultation occurs: a star suddenly vanishes behind the eastern limb of the Moon, and then reappears on the other side after a certain interval. In total, there are about one thousand stars visible to the naked eye that the Moon may occult. They lie in a narrow band to the north and south of the ecliptic, and are never more than 8° distant from it.


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  1. [39]
    J. Robertson; Catalog of 3539 Zodiacal Stars for the Equinox 1950.0 Astronomical Papers of the American Ephemeris, vol. X, part 2; Washington (1917). Reference catalogue for the prediction and assessment of stellar occultations. Contains stars near the ecliptic down to about ninth magnitude that may be occulted by the Moon.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Montenbruck
    • 1
  • Thomas Pfleger
    • 2
  1. 1.DLR-GSOCWeßlingGermany
  2. 2.HennefGermany

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