Astronomy quiz question: midnight Venus?

Astronomy 210 Quiz 2, Spring Semester 2009
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

[4.0 points.] Why is it not possible for Venus to be seen at midnight (12 AM) for an observer in San Luis Obispo, CA?
(A) Venus' orbit around the Sun is smaller than Earth's orbit.
(B) Venus revolves faster around the Sun than does Earth.
(C) Venus does not undergo retrograde motion.
(D) Venus' orbit around the Sun is not circular as Earth's orbit.

Section 30674
(A) : 23 students
(B) : 7 students
(C) : 6 students
(D) : 2 students

Correct answer: (A)

Venus cannot be behind Earth, with respect to the Sun, and thus cannot be seen by an observer at midnight (at least, for San Luis Obispo, CA).

"Difficulty level": 64% (including partial credit for multiple-choice)
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.82

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