Venus Transit Applet

This applet is Dr. Scott's first attempt to actually write his own applet all by himself. [The phrase "all by himself" should be taken to mean that he consulted numberous books on Java, bugged his brother Blair, his future step-nephew-in-law, and LTU CS graduates {Colin}.]

Thus, this applet might not actually work properly! (Doh!) It seems to require the latest Java for you to see all the features. If you are having trouble, try updating your Java {I'll try to post instructions on how to do that}, and until then, you'll have to just live with the screen shots from the VenusTransit screenshot page. Sorry about that!

But, if you are seeing the applet below properly - great! We can have some fun with it. Some explanations are listed below the applet. If you are looking for information about the Venus Transits - see Dr. Scott's Astro Day 2004 presentation (powerpoint).

Explanation of the controls:

Time Span - the calculations for these transits were made from the years -2000 to 4000. So, some of the series died out during that time, and some are in progress, and one will happen to start and finish during that timespan (series B).

Suggestions for using the applet:

  1. Run up and down the timeline with the individuals ... run it fast by clicking the button repeatedly .. try to look for "patterns" to the motion. [Will probably be hard to find patterns, because they keep flipping angle up/angle down!]
  2. Try selecting either May/June or Nov/Dec ... then run up and down the timeline. [Yes, when it happens to be a transit that is not of the variety you picked .. the date shows in the box, but no transit line shows. You are seeing the sloppyness of the programmer - it is just easier to keep all the transits "together" and always run up and down that chain {and just not print the transit line} than to actually program it correctly. That might change in the future.] With only one type of transit shown, it is easier to see the pattern emerge - the transits are drifting up or down the sun. And if they drift too far, the pairs become only singles .. and then back to pairs again.
  3. Try selecting the PAIRS button (and also select either May/June or Nov/Dec - to limit us to the same type). Now it is much easier to see the drifting of the transits, and the destruction of the pairs. [Between two 8-year transits, they shift a certain distance across the Sun - if that distance is too large, they can't form a pair .. then you have singles.]
  4. Finally, take a look at the series (this ignores the May/June and Nov/Dec radio buttons). Series B will be a complete one (but is still in progress) - the other ones are still in progress (B, C, E, and F) or are finished (A and D), but didn't start in the -2000 to 4000 year span under observation

Want the source code for the applet? Right click here, and use the "save as ..." option to download the Java code!

How did Dr. Scott make these calculations? Using data/concepts from Jean Meeus's book "Transits" (he is an astronomical god!).

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