The Wolves of Yellowstone, and Me

This NPR story on the fall of the Yellowstone Druid Pack tells part of the story as to why I have pictures of Coyote, Fox, and many herbivores, but I have no pictures of Wolves.
Rotten luck.
During my trips to Yellowstone, in 2005…
Yellowstone Lake
And in 2009…
Paul at the Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone
The Druid Pack was not doing well in either year, despite years of success for the most famous and visible pack of Wolves in Yellowstone. Now, according to the NPR story, the pack is so devastated that its down to a lone female who has all but fled the Lamar Valley.
Sad, and doubly ironic, since the Olsons and I this weekend had watched a documentary explaining the travails and trials of the Druids a couple of years ago (which gave us a clue why we had so much trouble seeing wolves in 2009). That documentary ended on a hopeful, positive note. Apparently, that optimism, and the temporary re-rise of the Druids, was only that: temporary. Predation, a nasty disease that kills cubs, and intra-pack aggression have done in the druids.
Alas, it may be a while, or perhaps never, before another “photogenic pack” takes the Druids place in Lamar Valley.

The Cosmic Bat

A little less well known than the Hubble and its gorgeous images is the ground based ESO.
ESO Stands for the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere
ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in the Atacama Desert region of Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. ESO’s first site is at La Silla, a 2400 m high mountain 600 km north of Santiago de Chile. It is equipped with several optical telescopes with mirror diameters of up to 3.6 metres. The 3.5-metre New Technology Telescope broke new ground for telescope engineering and design and was the first in the world to have a computer-controlled main mirror, a technology developed at ESO and now applied to most of the world’s current large telescopes. The ESO 3.6-metre telescope is now home to the world’s foremost extrasolar planet hunter: HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher), a spectrograph with unrivalled precision.
ESO, thankfully, was not affected adversely by the recent Chilean Earthquake.
Anyway, if you like astronomy pictures a la the Hubble, signing up for ESO releases (or following them on Twitter or facebook) is another way to get your fix. For example, a release, today, from ESO is of a nebula in a neglected corner of the Orion Constellation: “The Cosmic Bat”