Moonrise and the shadow of Mauna Kea taken at sunset this evening from the summit. January's full moon is called the wolf moon, a name that can be traced back to native American Indians who described the moon after the packs of hungry wolves that would howl outside their villages at this time of year.
This year's wolf moon is also the largest and brightest full moon of 2010. The apparent size of the moon depends on where it is in its orbit around the earth. Since the orbit isn't circular but elliptical, there's a point at which it is closest to the earth (perigee) and of course a point where it is furthest from the earth (apogee). When a full moon just happens to occur around perigee, as it is tonight, the full moon appears larger and brighter.
Tonight also sees some pretty spectacular action from the US army at the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. After waking up this afternoon I took a stroll outside at Hale Pohaku and could hear machine gun fire, jet aircraft, artillery and bombs. Tonight, up on the summit, we could see the light from the flares and explosions reflected in the clouds below us. They stopped at around 10pm. Time for bed I guess.