Dublin’s 10 Day ‘Science in the City Festival’ launched yesterday to celebrate Dublin hosting Europe’s largest science event – the Euroscience Open Forum 2012.

The Festival will host a range of events for all and will showcase the joy of discovery, and wonder of science.

The innovative programme of science themed events across Dublin consists of photographic and art exhibitions, several theatre pieces, film festivals, tours, trails and treasure hunts, science buskers, large-scale interactive installations, experiments, public talks, debates and workshops.

The festival will take place between 6th – 15th July.

‘Science in the City’ unites a community of cultural institutions, organisations and individuals who have come together to showcase the best of science, arts and culture in Ireland.

The Science in the City Festival is an integral part of the Euroscience Open Forum 2012, Europe’s largest general science conference. This important gathering will provide a platform for debate, for influencing policy and strengthening the links between science and society.

A year-long programme, Dublin City of Science, was developed to mark the honour of hosting one of the most prestigious international science events, ESOF 2012.

View the Full Programme Book.

The first open-air 2020VISION exhibition opens on 6th July at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and runs until 30th September 2012. The multi-screen AV show will project a spectacular feast of imagery and music onto a huge outdoor screen or building.

Featuring more than 100 superb images and a wealth of fascinating facts from the 2020VISION project, the exhibition forms part of the 2020VISION roadshow, which will tour the UK from now to 2015.

If you’re interested in bringing the 2020VISION Roadshow to your town or city, download the brochure to find out more.

Those who live outside the UK can cast an eye over the collection or purchase a print from the Natural Picture Library. You can also view a stunning new image from the 2020VISION image libary each and every day from this page. Images are available as wallpaper downloads.


2020VISION is the most ambitious photography-based conservation initiative ever staged in the UK. It aims to establish in the public mind the crucial link between people’s well being and a wilder UK, and to show that healthy ecosystems are not optional, but are something fundamental to us all.

Twenty of Britain’s best nature photographers were commissioned to work on 20 flagship projects illustrating the 10 major habitat types in the UK. Nature Picture Library is proud to be a sponsor of 2020VISION and to be the exclusive photo agency for both still images and video from the project.

Listen to an interview and slideshow with 2020VISION’s coordinator Peter Cairns.

To view or download the pdf brochure about the 2020VISION project, click here.

Paddle Out for Whales has reinvented itself yet again with this year’s event emerging into a full on festival for the whales.

It will include the event’s largest programme to date, with a full day of entertainment planned amongst the important awareness message about whaling and marine conservation.

From its origins as National Whale Day 7 years ago, the event has now emerged as one of Australia’s largest protests against whaling.

Each year the event kicks off with a paddle out stunt, seeing hundreds take to the water to make an aerial statement for the overhead spotter plane sending the important message that the whale watch capital does not support whaling.

This year, the day will extend to more than just the paddle out with an afternoon for the whales that is… completely free!

Festivities will start from 9:30am when registration for the paddle kicks off on the beach in front of Enzo’s on the Beach Cafe with the Nefertiti Dancers performing the Dugong Rock with Harvey the Whale. Following on will be the Fraser Coast Zumba team giving paddlers the chance to warm up for Australia’s biggest paddle out for whale conservation.

Paddlers will then take to the water at 11am to show respect and remember the 267 whales that were taken in Antarctica over summer. Champion Ironwoman Hayley Bateup will lead the paddle out with conservation ambassador Bob Irwin taking part in the stunt as well.

The event features a variety of activities for all ages – everything from pilates on a paddleboard to festival favorites like facepainting, and will be capped-off with a twilight screening of the award winning documentary ‘Mind’s in the Water’ following the story of pro-surfer Dave Rastovich in his quest to put an end to whaling.

The festival for the whales is set to take place on Saturday 23rd June at Enzo’s on the Beach and is supported by a host of entertainers from accross Queensland, all rallying for the cause.

Paddle Out 2012‘A celebration of one of earths most majestic creatures!’

Visit the website for more information.

Looking for a family adventure exploring the science of nature?

Join National Geographic in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado for BioBlitz.

On August 24th and 25th, individuals and families will be teamed with environmental scientists to find and identify as many living species as possible. This unique hands-on outdoor study program is an especially fun way for children and adults to learn about contemporary field science techniques and gain a greater appreciation of the importance of biodiversity and conservation work.

Kids will have the opportunity to learn from experts how to use microscopes, taxonomic keys, and GIS-based mapping. They will also get to spend time with scientists who share the fascination many children have with bugs, birds, flowers, and microbes.

The findings from this two-day event will add to the park’s official species list.

Plus, after a day of fieldwork, you can enjoy the BioBlitz Festival in nearby Estes Park. This conservation celebration will feature music, activities for kids of all ages, and exhibit booths celebrating biodiversity and sustainability.

The surrounding area also offers hiking, mountain climbing, white water rafting, and other fun family activities. And, the natural scenery is spectacular in and of itself.

Online registration for the adventure will begin in July but you can begin your BioBlitz experience today, by exploring the park website.

BioBlitz is the perfect opportunity for families to re-connect with nature and for children to be inspired to study science.

From 8.16am to 2.44pm the planet Venus will cross the face of the sun, appearing as a tiny black speck to skygazers.

A Transit of a planet occurs when the planet passes directly between the Earth and the Sun so that as seen from the Earth, the planet appears to pass across the face of the Sun. Transits can only occur with planets whose orbit is between that of the Earth and the Sun; that is, Mercury and Venus. A transit of a planet is similar to a solar eclipse but the planet appears to be much smaller that the Moon so it cannot cover the Sun and looks like a small black disc slowly crossing the Sun.

The transit last occurred in 2004 but will not happen again until 2117. View an infographic of the rare Venus transit, which occurred in 2004.

For the transit of 6th June 2012, Venus will take about six and a half hours to travel across the face of the Sun. Venus must be above the horizon for the transit to be visible. Australia is one of the best places on Earth from which to observe the transit as the entire transit will be visible from eastern and central Australia. The transit will have started before sunrise for those observing from Western Australia.

The predicted path of Venus across the Sun’s disc is shown in the diagrams above for locations on the east coast of Australia. Venus will travel in a straight line in its orbit across the Sun. However, because the Sun appears to rotate as it crosses the sky, Venus will appear to move in an inverted “U” shape when viewed from Australia.

The original benefit of observing transits of Venus was to assist in determining the Astronomical Unit. Later on, transits were used to examine Venus’s atmosphere using spectroscopy. Currently there is a great deal of scientific effort directed towards the search for exoplanets (planets outside the Solar System) and planetary transits across distant stars are the main method used to search for them. The 2004 and 2012 transits of Venus are providing a valuable benchmark and comparison with a known planet transiting a known star.

Read more about the History of the Transit of Venus.

Checkout‘s Transit of Venus 2012: An Observer’s Guide (Gallery) and Photography Skywatching Guide.

Safe Viewing of the Transit

Events such as solar eclipses and transits are exciting to watch, but you must ensure that you use the safest methods of viewing them.

Read more about Safely viewing the Sun.

Never look directly at the Sun or you may cause serious and permanent damage to your eyesight. Damage can occur without any feeling that there is something wrong as there are no pain receptors in the retina and the damage may not become apparent for some time. There are several safe methods of observing the transit.

1. Observing using the Internet ninemsn is streaming it live in conjunction with Sydney Observatory a live video of the whole event will be broadcast on Transit of Venus Project website.

2. Projection using a SolarScope, Binoculars or a Telescope.

Click here for information on how to use these projection methods safely.

Source: Transit of Venus Australia 2012 – a joint educational project of the Surveying and Spatial Science Industry, the Astronomical Association of Qld (AAQ), the Science Teachers Association of Qld (STAQ),and contributing teacher and surveyor volunteers Australia-wide.