Inferior Conjunction

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Upper and lower conjunction

Because Mercury and Venus are the only planets to orbit the sun inside the earth's orbit they can, viewed from the earth, form either a superior ("upper") or an inferior ("lower") conjunction with the sun.

In the case of the inferior conjunction, the planet involved is situated between the earth and the sun; while in the case of the superior conjunction the planet is behind the sun. When Mercury or Venus are moving retrograde when conjuncting the sun, they form an inferior conjunction, and if they are direct, an upper conjunction is formed.