Thousands visit tiny island to see total solar eclipse

Thousands of Greeks and tourists eager to witness a total solar eclipse yesterday besieged the tiny island of Kastellorizo, the only spot in Greece where the rare phenomenon was fully visible. Astronomers and enthusiasts watched through special protective glasses as the moon moved over the sun shortly before 2 p.m., transforming a bright, sunny day into near total darkness for a few minutes. «It was one of the best eclipses ever seen. Everyone here, Greeks and foreigners, are enthused. The atmosphere on the island was exciting and moving,» said Yiannis Seiradakis, a physics professor at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, who joined dozens of fellow scientists from all over the world to witness the phenomenon on Kastellorizo. «The spectacle during those few minutes when the moon covered the sun was like something out of our wildest fantasies,» local Mayor Pavlos Panigyris told Kathimerini. Meanwhile, thousands of people crammed into Syntagma Square in central Athens to watch a slightly less dramatic version of the phenomenon either through special protective sunglasses or on a large projection screen. From Athens, 84 percent of the sun was covered by the moon during the eclipse, which led birds to roost and the temperature to drop by several degrees for a few minutes. The second best vantage point in the country for viewing the eclipse was in the Cretan port of Iraklion, where locals witnessed the moon covering 95 percent of the sun. The next eclipse that will be seen in Greece is due in 2088.