Reflections On the Contrasting Beauty of Comino Island
Malta is a stone heart set in a shimmering sea; a perfect tension between rocky form and aqueous expanse. Colonizing powers from the Phoenicians to the British have exploited its strategic position and left their mark––in the rich and complex language, the eclectic cuisine and the whitewashed architecture. To stroll around its capital, Valletta, is to absorb a blast of the Baroque––from 400-year-old townhouses to century-old palaces. Fly, or take the ferry across to Gozo, and you arrive in Malta’s rural cousin, all golden stone and a carpet of wild flowers in the spring, as illuminated in Thomas Pynchon’s V and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Here, megalithic temples rise amid the ancient rubble, and precipices tumble into the sea. Between Malta and Gozo, the tiny island of Comino boasts the Blue Lagoon, a dazzling pool of pure cyan. It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic place to get wet, or to snorkel in crystal-clear waters, as illustrated in this series by photographer Palida Boonyarungsrit. Come the next day, the bodies beautiful gather in the garden-fringed Mellieħa Bay, or along the sandy stretches of Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay. Ramla, over on Gozo, may be as near a perfect strip of coast as you could wish for, its red-hued sand gently arcing across the water.
The Acclaimed Filmmaker Uncovers Malta’s Bawdy Past in a New Video for Dark Horses
A Poetic New Film Celebrates the Launch of a Galactic Telescope in Chile
Jonathan de Villiers’ The View From Mars: Part One takes an expressive look at ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), a vast international telescope project that was inaugurated in Chile this week, after decades in the making. When NASA wants to test a Mars rover or figure out how to detect life in the most inhospitable of environments, they go to the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth and an area that bears a striking resemblance to the Red Planet. With an utter absence of moisture and altitudes reaching 6,885 meters, the area is a magnet for astronomers seeking the clearest skies on the globe and the least atmosphere between their telescopes and space. ALMA’s moveable group of 66 giant antennas—planted on the remote and harsh 5,200-meter high Chajnantor Plateau—do not detect visible light like conventional optical telescopes. Instead they work together to gather emissions from gas, dust and stars and make observations in millimeter wavelengths, using radio frequencies instead of visible light—with no need for darkness, so the stars can be studied around the clock. With these tools, astronomers will soon be able to look billions of years into the past, gazing at the formation of distant stars and galaxies. “In doing so,” de Villiers reveals, “they’ll build a clearer picture of how our sun and our galaxy formed.”