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Definition of "inferior planet"

A planet which orbits the Sun inside the Earth's orbit. The inferior planets are Mercury and Venus, plus a small number of recently discovered minor planets. All the other major planets, and the majority of the minor planets are superior planets.

Inferior planets orbit the Sun faster than the Earth, and experience inferior conjunctions and superior conjunctions, but never oppositions.

The best time for observing an inferior planet is when it is at its greatest elongation from the Sun.