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inferior planet

noun, Astronomy.
either of the two planets whose orbits are inside the orbit of the earth: Venus and Mercury.
Compare superior planet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for inferior planet
Historical Examples
  • The same thing for an inferior planet, say Mercury, is even still more easily seen (vide figure 13).

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • He always talked down to us as though we were beings of another and inferior planet.

    Jeremy Hugh Walpole
  • At a transit of an inferior planet over the sun, this term means the passing off of the planet from his disc.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Sterne anticipated this paradoxist in (jestingly) attributing glassiness to an inferior planet.

    Myths and Marvels of Astronomy Richard A. Proctor
  • Unquestionably a sun-spot had been seen by earlier observers, and by them mistaken for the transit of an inferior planet.

  • The first person known to have observed a transit of an inferior planet was the celebrated French philosopher, Gassendi.

    Astronomy of To-day Cecil G. Dolmage
  • When the inferior planet is on the far side of the sun from us, it is said to be in Superior Conjunction.

    Astronomy of To-day Cecil G. Dolmage
  • Now this would most certainly be the case were the orbit of an inferior planet in the same plane with the orbit of the earth.

    Astronomy of To-day Cecil G. Dolmage
  • The inferior planet Venus comes closer, but is not visible throughout the night.

    Astronomical Discovery Herbert Hall Turner
British Dictionary definitions for inferior planet

inferior planet

either of the planets Mercury and Venus, whose orbits lie inside that of the earth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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inferior planet in Science
inferior planet  
Either of the planets Mercury or Venus, whose orbits lie between Earth and the Sun. Because these planets lie in the general direction of the Sun, they can only be seen a few hours before sunrise or after sunset and are always positioned relatively near the horizon, never overhead. Inferior planets go through a complete cycle of phases as viewed from Earth, although their full phase, which occurs on the far side of the Sun, is lost in its glare. Compare superior planet. See also inner planet.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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