inferior planet

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Related to inferior planet: Interior planets
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  • noun

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any of the planets whose orbit lies inside the earth's orbit

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After two books set in New York--The Descendant (1897) and Phases of an Inferior Planet (1898)--she turned to a series of novels that amount to a social history of Virginia from the Civil War to World War I, a record of the passing of economic and political power from a ruling aristocracy to a rising middle class.
When an inferior planet is at the greatest apparent distance from the Sun, it is said to be at greatest elongation.
And because Mercury and Venus are inferior planets (planets that orbit closer to the Sun than Earth), they occasionally form an attractive naked-eye pair in the morning or evening sky.
When inferior planets are closest to the Earth (that is, at inferior conjunction), their sunlit faces are turned away, denying our view just when angular breadth is greatest.
Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7 deal with the mechanisms which produce the motions of the sun, the moon, the superior, and the inferior planets, respectively.
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