Looking in the eastern sky at the moon on Sunday night, Sophia Gotham made an astute observation for a 10-year-old.
“It looks like a cookie that got a bite taken out of it,” Sophia said.
“A huge bite,” added 7-year-old Myna Singh.
Sophia, along with her 8-year-old sister, Izzy, and Myna’s 10-year-old sister, Jiya, were among several dozens of Kansas Citians who gathered atop a parking garage on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus to watch a rare supermoon lunar eclipse.
From the garage across from the Warkoczewski Public Observatory on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus, the girls watched as the moon slowly disappeared and then turned a reddish-orange color.
The parking garage was handling the overflow of people once the Warkoczewski Public Observatory reached capacity.
While lunar eclipses are common, ones involving supermoons aren’t. This was the sixth supermoon lunar eclipse since 1900. The next one won’t be until 2033.
“As the moon goes around its orbit, it’s a slight ellipse,” said Joseph Wright, operations manger of the the Warkoczewski Public Observatory. “Right now it’s in its closest approach to Earth in that ellipse, so it’s a little bit closer than it normally is.”
The moon appeared 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter.
During the eclipse, Leigh Anne Nelson and her daughter Layla looked over star charts as parts of the moon disappeared.
“I wanted to come because I was interested in it at school,” Layla said. She said she couldn’t wait to tell her friends at school because “it was really cool.”
Nelson saw the chance to use the eclipse as a lesson for her daughter.
“They focus in elementary school so much on math and reading and so little on science, any time I get the chance to expose my kid to science I want to do that,” she said.
At Powell Gardens, Grant Miller, a NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory solar system ambassador volunteer, said a family drove all the way from St. Louis to see the eclipse. The eastern part of the state was cloudy.
“It was a beautiful evening here,” he said. “Everything was just about perfect.”