SuperBlueBloodMoon: New Ideas About Lunar Formation

January 31 will be an early morning show for Moon lovers. Starting about 2.51 a.m. Pacific Time will be a lunar eclipse, or “blood moon” as the Moon passes through Earth’s shadow and picks up a reddish tint. At the same time, the full Moon of Jan. 31 is also a “supermoon” when the Moon is relatively close to Earth and looks bigger and brighter, and a “blue Moon” because it is the second full Moon in one month.

NASA is calling it a “SuperBlueBloodMoon.” (If it’s cloudy where you are, NASA is also running a live stream of the eclipse.)

Lunar science: a to-do list

Spaceprobes from three countries are currently orbiting the Moon, and there are plans to send robotic rovers back to our nearest neighbor. A recent paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-authored by UC Davis geologist Qing-zhu Yin, sets out some things to do when they get there — ways that lunar soils could tell us about the early history of the Earth.