SunAeon has added a new model to their website: Transit of Venus. As the name suggests, it tracks the forthcoming transit of Venus across the disk of the sun which will occur on the 5th / 6th June 2012, and allows you to experience the transit, even if it is not visible from your location at the time the event occurs.
Transits of Venus across the disk of the Sun are among the rarest of planetary alignments. Only seven have occurred since the invention of the telescope (1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and 2004). Such transits are only possible during early December and early June when Venus’s orbital nodes pass across the Sun, and have a pattern of recurrence at intervals of 8 and 121.5 years, then 8 and 105.5 years. This means that the next close pairing of transits will occur over a century from now in December 2117 (105 years from this year’s transit) and December 2125.
According to NASA, “The entire transit (all four contacts) is visible from northwestern North America, Hawaii, the western Pacific, northern Asia, Japan, Korea, eastern China, Philippines, eastern Australia, and New Zealand. The Sun sets while the transit is still in progress from most of North America, the Caribbean, and northwest South America. Similarly, the transit is already in progress at sunrise for observers in central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and eastern Africa,. No portion of the transit will be visible from Portugal or southern Spain, western Africa, and the southeastern 2/3 of South America.”
The SunAeon model is an animated representation of the transit, showing all four contacts together with a timeline of events at the bottom. Starting the model with advance the animation through the entire transit sequence, with annotations clearly showing if / when any portion of the transit is visible from your geographic location – making it a handy tool for determining if you want to observe the transit for yourself (and if you do, please observe safe methods of doing so).
For those running astronomy websites, the model also includes a tool for generating code which can be used to embed it in your site.
SunAeon is an educational / immersive project being run by a small team based in Slovakia. It presents an interactive model of the solar system users can explore at leisure, visiting worlds examining data, etc. The team is planning to add further models to the main SunAeon portal, together with other features, including opportunities for social interaction.