Superior Planet

The superior planets are those planets which are further from the Sun than the Earth, namely Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

When a superior planet and the Earth have the same right ascension on the celestial sphere (i.e. the Earth, Sun and superior planet all lie along the same line), a superior conjunction occurs (elongation = 0 degrees). A superior planet is at opposition when it is on the opposite of the Earth to the Sun (elongation = 180 degrees).

left: A superior planet at superior conjunction, on the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth.
right: A superior planet at opposition, on the same side of the Sun as the Earth.

The superior planets exhibit retrograde motion during their orbits around the Sun.

See also: inferior planet.

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