TIME space

See New Horizons’ Entire Pluto Flyby in 23 Seconds

Get a good look at the dwarf planet

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft completed its near decade-long mission to Pluto with a flyby of the dwarf planet and its moons in July, capturing the best images we have to date.

NASA has collected these images into the above animation, showing the flyby from the spacecraft’s point of view, including a close encounter with Pluto, a pass behind the planet revealing its atmospheric glow lit by the sun, and a pass behind Charon, Pluto’s largest moon. The animation ends with a wide view of Pluto and Charon as New Horizons makes its departure.

After New Horizons left Pluto behind, NASA announced a potential new destination for the spacecraft: a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that is nearly a billion miles away from Pluto. “2014 MU69 is a great choice because it is just the kind of ancient KBO, formed where it orbits now, that the Decadal Survey desired us to fly by,” New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colo., said in a press release. “Moreover, this KBO costs less fuel to reach [than other candidate targets], leaving more fuel for the flyby, for ancillary science, and greater fuel reserves to protect against the unforeseen.”

TIME Environment

See Striking New Images of Algae Blooms in the Great Lakes

Algae Bloom in Lake St. Clair
NASA/Goddard's MODIS Rapid Res/EPA A satellite image of algal blooms around the Great Lakes, visible as swirls of green in this image of Lake St. Clair and in western Lake Erie, taken on July 28, 2015 and released on Aug. 4, 2015.

NASA released these images on Tuesday showing algal blooms in Lake St. Clair (above) and Lake Erie (below). The image was taken by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite on July 28, 2015 as part of a larger effort between NASA, NOAA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to protect the public from toxic algal blooms in freshwater.

Lake Erie Algal Blooms
NASA/NOAAAlgal blooms on Lake Erie, captured on July 28, 2015.

“There’s very little data on the severity of the blooms in Lake St. Clair from a monitoring perspective,” Dr. Richard Stumpf, an oceanographer at NOAA, told TIME. “That particular bloom, while it could be cyanobacteria, we don’t have confirmation.”

The bloom in Lake Erie, which NOAA forecasted in July may rival the algal bloom of 2011, has been confirmed to be toxic cyanobacteria. Western Lake Erie had one of the wettest Junes on record, producing one of the highest measured concentrations of phosphorous, the nutrient that feeds these blooms. “If you go swimming in it, at the minimum your intestines will be in distress,” Dr. Stumpf told TIME. “If there’s a lot, there’s a risk of liver damage. Some people can get dermatitis from skin exposure to high concentrations of the toxin. It is deadly to dogs. Water dogs should not go into where there’s scum or very obvious discoloration.”

“The other aspect is that while water treatment is very effective, [algal blooms] increase the cost. There’s a lot more that has to be done to the water when you have these blooms. There’s considerable effort and expense going into treating the water.”

NOAA will continue to monitor the two lakes, using a combination of data derived from weekly water samples, continual sensors that detect pigment these algae produce, and imagery from Landsat 8 and other lower resolution satellites. The addition of NASA’s ocean color processing to the Landsat 8 imagery will improve NOAA’s ability to analyze and forecast algal blooms.

Algal Blooms Lake Erie Lake Sinclair
NOAA, with data from NASA Aqua and Terra satellitesA satellite timelapse view of the algal blooms in Lake Erie and Lake Sinclair on July 20, 23, and 28, 2015.

“In Lake St. Clair we need a confirmation of what we’re dealing with so we can confirm whether it is cyanobacteria and whether it is toxic,” said Stumpf. “Then from our side we monitor for the bloom, get the distribution, the concentration, and then we forecast where it’s going. We try to provide enough information to advise the water suppliers, the state agencies, the parks of when they’re at risk of the blooms showing up at their doorstep.”

“A bloom like this will likely be around well into September. When it’s this big it tends to last. 2011 went to the beginning of October – I hope this does not last that long. Unfortunately that’s not unusual to have something that’s strikingly beautiful and terrible at the same time.”

TIME space

See the Far Side of the Moon From a Million Miles Away

DSCOVR Moon Million Miles Away

Illuminated from a distance for the first time

NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) has captured a view of the moon that is impossible to see from Earth—the “dark side,” illuminated as it passes between our planet and the Sun. The images were made by DSCOVR’s four megapixel Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), from the satellite’s position a million miles away from the Earth on July 16.

Though this is not the first time the far side of the moon has been captured, it is the first illuminated view from this distance. The far side was first seen and recorded by the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft in 1959. It has since been recorded and photographed in several NASA missions, including the Apollo 8 crew who were the first humans to see this side of the moon.

“It is surprising how much brighter Earth is than the moon,” Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement. “Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface.”

DSCOVR was launched on Feb. 11 from Cape Canaveral, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Beginning next month, the satellite will provide daily color images to the public of the surface of the Earth just 12 to 36 hours from the time they are captured.


New Pluto Image Shows Enhanced View of Its Heart

Pluto photo from four images from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) combined with color data from the Ralph instrument
NASA/REUTERS An enhanced color global view of Pluto released on July 24, 2015.

NASA released the false color composite image

NASA released a false-color image of Pluto on Thursday, revealing an unprecedented view of the dwarf planet’s vividly contrasting patches of terrain.

The picture is a composite of multiple images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft, captured 280,000 miles away from Pluto in the days before the July 14 flyby.

The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard the probe captured photos that thrilled the world last week. Close-ups from that camera were combined with data from a Ralph instrument on board to create these new color depictions.

According to the NASA press release, the color suggests insights about Pluto’s “icy heart”: the ice appears to be originating and spreading outward from the “heart of the heart,” Sputnik Planum.

TIME space

New Horizons Finds Second Mountain Range in Pluto’s Heart

New Horizons Pluto Heart Mountain Range
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute A newly discovered mountain range lies near the southwestern margin of Pluto’s heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region), situated between bright, icy plains and dark, heavily-cratered terrain.

The newly discovered peaks are as high as the Appalachian Mountains

Pluto’s heart continues to divulge its secrets as NASA announced the discovery of a new mountain range on the lower-left edge of the planet’s heart-shaped region.

These frozen peaks are estimated to be one-half mile to one mile high, which is about the same height as the Appalachian Mountains, NASA has revealed in a new image.

The newly discovered peaks, which have yet to be named, are located about 68 miles northwest of the Norgay Montes, the frozen mountains that were discovered on July 15 in the first series of photographs that New Horizons beamed back to Earth.

“There is a pronounced difference in texture between the younger, frozen plains to the east and the dark, heavily-cratered terrain to the west,” said Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. “There’s a complex interaction going on between the bright and the dark materials that we’re still trying to understand.”

NASA believes that Sputnik Planum, the left lobe of Pluto’s heart-shaped region, was formed less than 100 million years ago while the darker region, seen on the newly-released image, is probably older by billions of years.

TIME space

Photographing Pluto: This Is How New Horizons Works

NASA's Jeff Moore answers our questions about the historic Pluto fly-by

On January 19, 2006, the New Horizons space craft launched from Cape Canaveral on a mission that would take it over three billion miles away to an unprecedented rendezvous with the dwarf planet Pluto.

Nearly a decade later, the first images from that fly-by will be sent back to Earth on Wednesday – they will be the best and closest images of Pluto ever taken.

TIME Multimedia Editor Mia Tramz interviews Jeff Moore, the Geology and Geophysics Investigation (GGI) Theme Team leader, about the cameras they used for this historic mission and what these new images of Pluto may mean for our understanding of the universe.

TIME LightBox: How many cameras are on the space craft?

Jeff Moore: There’s two cameras that more or less operate in visible light: a color camera which is a medium resolution camera (Ralph), and then there’s a grayscale or black and white telephoto camera (Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, or LORRI).

Our long range pictures of things that are going to give us our highest resolution images will be taken LORRI. And the color pictures will be taken with Ralph. We can actually combine the colors from Ralph to colorize LORRI’s pictures.

And then there is an imaging infrared spectrometer that will also makes pictures of a sort. But they’re mostly compositional information, like what Pluto and its moons are made out of.

TIME LightBox: Was any new technology incorporated into the cameras?

Jeff Moore: At a relatively small level yes, but mainly the cameras represent mature technology of 15 years ago. If you’re going to launch a space craft that’s going to fly over three billion miles away from the Earth – and it’s going to take ten years to get there – you want to make sure that what you’re sending there is completely reliable.

So we did not use the latest most cutting edge technology, we used technology which we would be sure to work when we got there. We used cameras not too different from what you can buy at a camera store or in the back of your telephone. We made the cameras very robust and mechanically simple so that nothing could break and nothing could fail.

TIME LightBox: How long does it take to get an image back from the space craft?

Jeff Moore: In order to keep the mission economical so that NASA would have the resources to pay for [it], we did a few things such as using a relatively small radio antenna on the space craft. And we also bolted everything onto the space craft without any moving parts.

That means several things. When the space craft collects data, it usually does not have its antenna pointed at the Earth – the space craft has to reorient itself back to Earth to transmit data.

Also, at the distance of Pluto, we can only send data back at a rate that’s comparable with an old 1990s modem. Because of that, during the encounter, we’ll be taking many, many pictures, but those pictures will all be stored on the solid state memory and radioed back to the Earth months after the encounter.

Much of our best and most interesting data isn’t going to be seen until this fall or early next year. Of course we’re going to send back some very interesting high priority data during the days of the encounter itself.

TIME LightBox: How often are you receiving pictures from the space craft currently?

Jeff Moore: We are getting pictures back on a daily to weekly basis right now.

MORE: See The Trailer For TIME’s Unprecedented New Series: A Year In Space

TIME LightBox: Can you describe the different teams that will be working with these pictures and what data they’ll be looking for in the images?

Jeff Moore: There’s four teams: There is a Composition (COMP) Theme Team which will look mostly at the data from the infrared mapping spectrometer I described earlier. It doesn’t have the same pixel resolution as the cameras, but it takes pictures in over two hundred and fifty colors in the near infrared. They can make spectra of individual points on Pluto and determine what kinds of materials make up the surface of the planet.

Then there’s an Atmospheres (ATM) Theme Team. They will examine the structure and density and surface pressure and chemistry and winds of Pluto’s atmosphere.

And then last but not least there is a Particles and Plasma (P&P) Theme Team which will study the interaction of solar wind with the gases which come off of Pluto’s atmosphere and off its moons. They can tell a lot about the evolution and long term survivability of, or changes at least, in Pluto’s atmospheric history by looking at how these fields and particles from the Sun interact with the material and the vicinity of Pluto.

TIME LightBox: From your own personal point of view, what sorts of things are you most excited to start finding out about once the pictures come back from the fly-by?

Jeff Moore: The thing that I’m going to be most excited about is understanding the various geological processes that have operated to shape the surface. We see evidence that there’s been vast erosion and buildup of ices as Pluto goes through its extreme seasons.

Pluto has extreme seasons which may well drive very exotic land forms. We may see big landscapes that are eroded that look like Monument Valley and maybe other places which look like polar ice sheets.

It’s perfectly possible to see where the ground’s been broken and split into mountains or ridges or canyons from tectonic forces. We might even see evidence for an exotic form of volcanism where you have this very cold but volatile material that makes up Pluto. It might be warmed by radioactive minerals in the interior. There might be eruptions of ice or methane or nitrogen volcanoes. That can’t be ruled out.

And we expect to see probably at least a few impact craters here and there. If the surface has very few impact craters that means it’s very young. And Pluto has, up until recent times, or in recent times been geologically active. If it has lots of impact craters it means that most of the things that happened in the history of Pluto happened a long time ago.

There’s a lot of things we don’t know anything about. And figuring out how all these different geological processes worked in concert with each other and which came first will tell us the history of Pluto.

But I always tell everybody right now, what I really anticipate most about Pluto is to be surprised.

TIME LightBox: How do you anticipate this mission will contribute to our understanding of our universe?

Jeff Moore: Pluto may be the star witness to the whole third zone of the solar system. The inner zone of the solar system has the rocky planets like the Earth and Mars and so on. And the middle solar system have all the gas giants like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and all their moons.

But then beyond those worlds, there is a vast realm of ice worlds which planets like Pluto represents the largest members of this third zone of the solar system, where water ice is considered to be something that never melts – it’s considered to be hard as rock, as un-meltable as rock.

The things that are operating on the surface at those temperatures instead are things like frozen nitrogen and frozen methane, which of course are gases on the Earth.

The things which make our atmosphere, or the stuff that comes out of our gas heated stoves, are the things which make up the surface materials and the rocks on these worlds like Pluto. And how they interact, it’s really not something we’ve seen a lot of or have any understanding of.

It represents in some sense one of the major regions of our solar system. Pluto may represent one of the more common types of worlds in the universe. And we simply haven’t seen such worlds before, so it’s going to be really exciting to see such a landscape for the first time.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Jeff Moore is the Geology and Geophysics Investigation (GGI) Theme Team leader for New Horizons. Follow the New Horizons Mission @NASANewHorizons.

Mia Tramz is a Multimedia Editor for TIME.com. Follow her on Twitter @miatramz.

TIME technology

Beyond Google Earth, How One Company Wants to See the World in 3D

Vricon offers a new way to map the world

Maps in two dimension are a thing of the past – or so say the engineers behind Vricon, a new 3-D mapping tool.

Developed as a joint venture between Saab Group, a Swedish aerospace and defense company, and DigitalGlobe, a purveyor of high resolution space and satellite imagery, Vricon uses automated algorithm to process DigitalGlobe’s massive archive of maps into highly accurate, data rich 3D models.

“The core of our technology is called stereophotogrammetry. And that’s been around for ages,” Manne Anliot, Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales at Vricon tells TIME. “That just means taking two images and correlating them with each other. What we are doing, which is unprecedented, is to take more than two images. We actually use all the available imagery over any given area.” The algorithm combines multiple images, sometimes in the hundreds, to create a 3D model which, once mapped, can be updated with new satellite imagery as it is collected by DigitalGlobe’s cluster of satellites.

Vricon provides these models to its clients on an interactive visualization platform, similar in look and feel to Google Earth. “The data is streamed from the Vricon cloud or stored locally with small storage requirements. You only need a very lightweight client and it can be a client on even a handheld or a mobile phone,” says Anliot. Vricon’s clients, which currently include the Swedish Armed Forces and the NGA, at that point have in their hands a tool for geospatial analysis.

“One key feature,” says Anliot, “is the line of sight calculation.” By dropping a pin onto a given point on a Vricon model within their visualization platform, a client can determine what the line of sight is from that position. (See the image below where the yellow colorization denotes what line of sight would be from the pin at the center.) This becomes very handy in, for example, combat situations. “You can position snipers in different locations to make sure that you get the proper coverage of the target that you’re looking for,” says Anliot.


“Another is the reverse. If you know enemy firing positions, you can make calculations from those… in order to calculate a safe route for yourself. It can be used to plan your observation posts, how to be in cover, how to have eyes on your target. It can be to plan your entry and egress route.”

VRICON 3d mapping line sight

Vricon also has the ability to model change over time. By reprocessing data that has already been mapped, they can automatically detect changes between two data sets, making it possible to detect large scale changes such as receding glaciers, or more recently, the change in the depth and volume of a construction site being dug out at the Uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, Iran between 2010 and 2012.

The current delivery time, from the moment Vricon receives a request from a client to the point of delivery, depends largely on how long it takes to collect the satellite imagery. Once the images are in hand, depending on the size of the area to be mapped, processing can take from a few minutes to a few hours.

“We did Ar-Raqqah for example in Syria, that took us four hours of processing time, from the time we had the imagery until we had the processed product, ” says Anliot. “It took us four hours with our current server farm. But this is completely scalable with the available hardware. Part of this joint venture is that we will scale up our server park and personnel to be able to achieve a production capacity of roughly two million square kilometers per month by mid 2016.”

The company aims to have one third of the globe available as an on-the-shelf streaming product within the next three years. The ultimate goal is to map the entire globe.

“Our focus, the coming years, will be to fully realize the potential of the defense and intelligence needs. And after that it will be infrastructure projects. But I think as we produce the globe, actually having it on the shelf available on our visualization platform, it will open up a lot of very interesting applications.”

Mia Tramz is a Multimedia Editor for TIME.com. Follow her on Twitter @miatramz.

TIME On Our Radar

Two Filmmakers Set Out to Capture the Last Mesmerizing Dark Skies

Skyglow is a still-photography, time-lapse project

If, like 54% of the world’s population, you live in an urban area, you are no doubt familiar with the awe inducing experience of venturing out into nature and looking up at the night sky.

Away from the city lights, the sky shimmers with countless stars and planets glinting back at you; you can clearly make out constellations and the Milky Way.

A new project, Skyglow, by filmmakers Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic seeks to capture that phenomenon in the last remaining ‘dark sky’ locations and archaeoastronomy sites in North America using still photography and time-lapses. “I lived in LA for 12 years, so I hadn’t seen the stars,” Mehmedinovic tells TIME. “Part of my childhood in Bosnia I grew up rurally, so I was able to see the night sky. It was kind of a spiritual experience as a kid. And that I lost that for many years.”

The duo hopes to use the project as a means of spreading awareness around the effects of light pollution and to explore the psychological effects of living in a world without stars. To that end, they’ll be working with the Tucson-based nonprofit, International Dark-Sky Association. “Their goal has always been to preserve dark skies,” says Mehmedinovic. “Their primary interest is to influence cities to change their lighting systems and revamp the way we think about how much needs to be lit or not lit.” “That’s the thing we’re learning really quickly,” added Heffernan. “It’s not something that has to be this way.”

Creating Skyglow, which will culminate in the publication of a coffee table book and Blu-ray of their best time-lapse footage, will be an adventure in its own right. “We have a plan of renting the Breaking Bad RV for two or three major trips, plot out places on the map we can head up in one straight line with an end destination of Alberta or Alaska to get those incredible Northern Lights next year. Glacier National Park is the big one on the list for us, and Yosemite. On the East Coast, there’s only a few remaining dark sky locations,” says Heffernan.

“There’s something undeniable and extremely seductive the idea of the skies, ” adds Mehmedinovic. “Just the fact that we can hardly see it anymore. I think that experience, for most people now, it’s hard to come by. And it made a whole lot of sense to try to communicate this to others.”

“What we often do is we set up a camera and we leave [it],” says Mehmedinovic. “And then go down five miles and set up another camera. Then drive down five miles. You’re leaving a camera in the middle of nowhere. It seems insane. But in the middle of the night, the chances of somebody seeing it and finding it are pretty low. Although we do have some strange stories that have happened.”

In conjunction with International Dark Sky Week, Heffernan and Mehmedinovic have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. To read more about the effects of light pollution, dark sky locations, and contribute to the campaign, visit the Skyglow Kickstarter page.

TIME photography

See Music Festivals Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

Felix Cid’s images of macro electronic music festivals are photographic mash ups

Imagine making a photograph in the same way that Girl Talk makes a track – mashing up different songs from different eras and genres, morphing and flowing into each other seamlessly, retaining their own unique sounds but aggregating into something strange and spectacular in layer upon layer upon layer. Felix R. Cid’s images of macro electronic music festivals are that photographic mash up.

Cid, a Spanish photographer, resembles a human whirlwind with the combined energy and joie de vivre of the hundreds of party-goers packed into one of his massive photo collages. He speaks 10,000 miles a minute, his hair wild and appropriately windblown, with equal facility on classical painting, photo history, and political theory. His collages, with the exception of two which he calls ‘purists’ (slides 3 and 6), incorporate hundreds of images taken from a number of festivals in several different countries. They are at once expressions of a collective energy and of individual experiences.

Over several months in 2014 Cid traveled around the world photographing festivals and raves, taking hundreds of pictures at each party. Back in the studio, he would choose pictures – of people, moments, landscapes, giant balloons – one by one from his stockpile, letting the collages take shape organically, sometimes stepping away from them for a month or two, sometimes scrapping the whole thing and starting from scratch. Each of the pictures are used exactly once. “When I use a picture I already don’t have an interest anymore in it,” Cid tells TIME. “The picture’s already in the bigger photograph. So I don’t repeat images. And I also don’t have the need because I shoot hundreds of them.”

Felix R. CidDetail from Untitled (Paris), 2014

The photo collages, which bring to mind Andreas Gursky’s digitally-manipulated landscapes, become in a way data visualizations of human experience and expression – like pointillism on steroids. “I think of capitalism as the most popular religion of all time, and that this moment is about these kids who, especially now, communicate in platforms that are not physical at all…and then there is this moment of — almost of rage, of expression and gathering together and shredding.”

Cid exhibits the work as huge prints so that viewers can see every moment he’s woven into each piece. From a distance they read as undulating waves of color, or even static; up close they read like Bosch paintings with nearly infinite scenes of pain, pleasure, and unchecked bodily expression. “I love to see what’s happening, it’s beautiful,” he says. “You see the comedy and the drama of the human race at the same time right there.”

Felix R. Cid is a visual artist born in 1976 in Madrid, Spain. He graduated from a GS Program at ICP in 2005 and he holds an MFA in Photography from Yale University School of Art. He lives in Brooklyn.

Mia Tramz is a Multimedia Editor for TIME.com. Follow her on Twitter @miatramz.

TIME portfolio

Meet the Last Jews of Calcutta

Once a thriving community, today about 20 Jews remain in Calcutta

This article has been enhanced with interactive sound clips. To hear the voices of the surviving community members, click the phrases highlighted in red.

From the late eighteenth till the mid-twentieth century, there was
content=a thriving “Bagdadi” Jewish community
in Calcutta. Jewish traders from the Middle East prospered in British India. Originally Judeo-Arab in identity, they attained a Judeo-British one. Calcutta Bagdadi Jews settled in a cosmopolitan urban environment, met no prejudice, and excelled in all spheres of endeavor. They played a key role in the city’s mercantile development, engaged in governance and civic affairs, built impressive synagogues, established schools, and constructed magnificent buildings. Though never more than 4,000 in number, the community was influential and thoroughly integrated in the fabric of Calcutta.

The 1940s were tumultuous years, when Baghdadi Jews from Burma, and many European Jews fleeing Nazi oppression found safe haven there. With independence, when Nehru proclaimed his Socialist leanings, some wealthy Jews became uncertain of their economic prospects in an “Indian India.” Many Jews opted to emigrate to the UK, US, Canada and Australia, and some to Israel. This rapid movement of people destabilized the tight-knit, religiously conservative community. By the 1960s, only 400 to 500 remained in Calcutta, making it difficult to sustain Jewish community life. Today, there are barely 20 left, many old and infirm.

My mother, soundFile=http://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/jews-calcutta-master.mp3|
and I returned to Calcutta, five years ago. With Elisha Twena, Jo and Mordy Cohen, Danny David, and Ian Zachariah, we help administer community affairs. We maintain the three synagogues and cemetery, and supervise the schools. Shalom Israel, caretaker of the cemetery, soundFile=http://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/jews-calcutta-master.mp3|
content=left for Israel in October 2014
. Though there has been no Jewish girl in the girls’ school since 1975, it provides quality education to neighborhood girls, mostly Muslims. Our synagogues are well taken care of by generations of Muslim caretakers.

I am documenting the community’s impact with the help of a Nehru Fulbright grant. Last year, I self-published The Man With Many Hats, a novel set in “Jewish Calcutta.” This year I launched a digital archive, Recalling Jewish Calcutta, in collaboration with the School of Cultural Texts and Records, Jadavpur University, Trinity College, Dublin and NUI, Maynooth.

The archive showcases the Jewish presence in Kolkata, illustrates its rich cultural and social life, and features the many significant contributions of this colorful community. While best known for its business acumen, the First Miss India was from our community. Jews starred in Bollywood and silent films, there was a globally renowned magician, a stalwart of India’s documentary film association, and a general in the Indian army who was later Governor of Goa and then Punjab. A Bagdadi Jewish woman was the first woman in India to file a case for women to be plaintiffs (1915), Jewish women defended women in purdah in the High Court, and were leaders in education, medicine and dentistry.

The archive at once celebrates the Jewish legacy and the city of Calcutta (Kolkata today). An example of multiculturalism at its best, the city and the community enriched each other and both flourished through this interaction: soundFile=http://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/jews-calcutta-master-02.mp3|
content=a model partnership in today’s increasingly intolerant world.

Jael Silliman is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Iowa and the author of the new book Jewish Portraits, Indian Frames: Women’s Narratives from a Diaspora of Hope published by Brandeis University Press, 2002.

Ashok Sinha was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), India but lives and works as a photographer in New York City. He has founded the nonprofit Cartwheel Initiative that uses creative media to empower youth living in the aftermath of conflict and disaster. Follow him on Twitter @ashoksinhaphoto.

Mia Tramz is a Multimedia Editor for TIME.com. Follow her on Twitter @miatramz.

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