inferior planets


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inferior planets

The planets Mercury and Venus, which lie closer to the Sun than the Earth.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006

Inferior Planets

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The original meaning of inferior was below. In the concept of the universe that was prevalent prior to the Copernican revolution, when Earth was thought to be the stable center around which every other celestial body revolved, the orbits of Mercury and Venus were considered to be closer to the Earth and thus “below” the orbit of the Sun. These two planets were thus referred to as the inferior planets. The current negative connotations of the term “inferior” have caused this expression to be dropped in favor of the term “inner planets.”

The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Inferior Planets

 

the two principal planets of the solar system (Mercury and Venus) whose orbits lie inside the earth’s orbit. The name “inferior planets” is connected with the geocentric system of the world, in which these planets were thought to be situated below the sun. According to this system, planets situated above the sun were called superior planets.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
GIE would serve as an "ersatz opposition" for partisans of the inferior planets.
With such a variable and preciously small observable commodity, it's worth noting exactly when an inferior planet's sunlit portion appears a really most extensive --a happening I call greatest illuminated extent (GIE).