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What you need to know about Venus before its big star turn

June 04, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

The first thing you need to understand about Venus is that Earth is practically its sister -- that is, if your sister looked like you, had the same body mass but was extremely harsh and super hot-tempered.  And she's clingy too. Venus is the closest planet to Earth in the solar system.

After the spectacular annular eclipse last month, it's Venus' turn to shine, celestially speaking. The transit of Venus, i.e., the rare event that occurs when Venus moves between Earth and sun, starts at 3:06 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday in Los Angeles and continues until the sun sets at 8 p.m.

It won't happen again for 105 years. But before you buy protective safety glasses (and you must) and head for the nearest high point to watch, take this quiz to discover things you may not know about the planet named for the goddess of love.

QUESTIONS:

1. In terms of its place in the solar system, Venus is:

a. the first planet from the sun

b. the fourth planet from the sun

c. the second planet from the sun

2. How many moons does Venus have?

a. none

b. three

c. one

3. It takes Earth 24 hours to complete a rotation on its axis. How long does it take for Venus to do likewise, as measured in Earth days??

a. 12 hours

b. 243 days

c. 100 days

4. Venus distinguishes itself as:

a. the closest planet to the sun

b. the planet with the fastest orbital speed

c. the hottest planet in the solar system

5. If you weigh 100 pounds, how much would you weigh on Venus?

a. 88 pounds

b. 50 pounds

c. 150 pounds

6. It takes Earth about 365 days to orbit the sun. About how long does it take Venus?

a. 225 days

b. 365 days

c. 400 days

7. What satellite has been orbiting Venus and transmitting data since 2006?

a. the Hubble

b. Venus Express

c. Space X

8. Two different songs named "Venus" went to the top of the charts in 1959 and 1970. Name the singers.

a. John Glen and the Beatles, respectively

b. Frank Sinatra and the Rolling Stones, respectively

c. Frankie Avalon and Shocking Blue, respectively

ANSWERS:

1 (c)

2 (a)

3 (b)

4 (c; it can be as hot as 900 degrees F)

5 (a)

6 (a)

7 (b)

8 (c)

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