Venus to dot sun’s face today

For six hours today, stargazers in Greece will be able to observe a tiny black dot representing the planet Venus crossing the face of the sun, in a rare celestial phenomenon that only occurs about twice in every century. The planet’s trajectory across the star’s fiery disc will be visible between 8.20 a.m. and 2.23 p.m. throughout Greece, provided the skies are clear today. But doctors have warned that any attempt to watch the event without special protective glasses – such as the goggles used by metal-welders – could severely damage viewers’ eyesight. The last time Venus could be seen from Greece crossing the face of the sun was 122 years ago, on December 6 1882. «Although devoid of scientific significance, the event is stuck in astronomers’ subconscious as of great importance,» Thessaloniki University assistant professor of physics Haris Varvoglis told Kathimerini. «Just like music-lovers filled the Herodes Atticus Odeon to hear [tenor] Luciano Pavarotti, despite the fact that he was singing with the aid of a microphone.»