The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light

Where's this book been?
by Paul Bogard | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 0316182907 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 4/25/2018
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, April 25, 2018
I got this fair-condition ex-library hardcover from Better World Books. It's about the way artificial illumination has reduced the Earth's regions of complete darkness so much that it's increasingly difficult to find a spot on land that doesn't harbor some electrical glow on the horizon. The author focuses on the US and Europe, and visits locales such as Las Vegas - whose Luxor Beam is "the brightest single spot on this planet" - and Death Valley, where he gets as close to total darkness as is possible in the continental US (and which is still not entirely dark).

The book discusses public opinion and ecological concerns vs. practical advantages; clearly, some amount of nighttime lighting is a good thing, so that we can stay out later without bumping into things, but there are ways to design the lights and the spacing and timing such that we aren't blasting photons all over the place to no purpose.

He mentions safety concerns at one point, as in safety-from-violent-crime; he suggests that the criminals prefer to work where they can see what they're doing, so people who dread any dimming of street lights may be miscalculating the risks! (One photo demonstrates quite well the advantages of well-thought-out security lighting: a too-bright lamp casts a glow that can obscure the view of, say, a stranger lurking by the gate, while a better-designed choice can allow wider visibility. Think low-beam headlights vs. high-beam.)

I appreciate the chance to enjoy near-dark, myself, though where I live it's difficult. Still, my own backyard, shaded by trees from most of the surrounding houses and streetlights, can get dark enough on moonless nights to feel quite remote indeed. And I spent time on a friend's ranch in Wyoming in my youth, where walking out into the yard at night meant stepping back in time: I recall one night when I was terrified by a thundering noise whose origin I couldn't see or even accurately pinpoint, until several of the - very tame - ranch horses galloped by me, enjoying their evening gambols! And I do wonder if I've damaged my own night vision by spending most of my after-dark time in well-lit spaces, staring at screens of one kind or another...

Among the author's other dark-seeking visits was to Cape Cod, to the site of Henry Beston's long-vanished beach house from which he wrote The Outermost House (a favorite book of mine). While the area isn't as remote - or as dark - as it was in Beston's day, the author appreciates the spot, even though he has to turn his back on the huge glow that is Boston...

There are discussions of darkness as it relates to sleep habits, light-pollution as it affects wildlife, and more.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, May 26, 2018

Released 1 yr ago (5/29/2018 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

I'm adding this to the Biographies of Things bookbox, which will be on its way to its next stop after the Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 3 by winginnaewing at Aurora, Colorado USA on Tuesday, July 03, 2018
This book made a short stop in Colorado before continuing on in the Biography of Things bookbox (still traveling in honor of maryzee

but yet another that sounds interesting. I think I will at least add this one to my wishlist and like elizardbreath with the Bicycle, maybe it will find its way back to me :-)

Journal Entry 4 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Friday, August 10, 2018
Claimed from MaryZee's Biographies of Things box with thanks!

Sounds very interesting. Reading the jacket blurb made me think of "I am not a stranger to the dark" and my favorite version of "This is Me" from "The Greatest Showman".

Journal Entry 5 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Thursday, September 26, 2019
Still TBR, but promised as a wishlist tag so I'd better get to it soon!

Update October 15: still reading but I'm getting there; I'm currently starting chapter two. (This book's chapters count DOWN.)

Journal Entry 6 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Friday, October 18, 2019
Fascinating. Does what I believe good non-fiction should do: makes you want to know more. I checked out cover artist Tyler Nordgren's artwork and am intrigued by the idea of visiting a Dark Sky site, someday.

Either Bogard or his fact-checker slipped up a couple of times: the memorable science fiction short story "Nightfall" is by Isaac Asimov, and the long-time host of public radio's "Music Through the Night" was Arthur Hoehn, who kept me company during many a long night while I was in high school.

Journal Entry 7 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, October 20, 2019

Released 3 mos ago (10/19/2019 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Saturday, October 19, 2019: off to Colorado!

USPS tracking 9549 0104 3304 9292 6490 47
ETA 11/7/19

Released for Secretariat's 2019 NJABBIC challenge (week 42: figures turned away from the reader), AlterEgoZoe's Spook-tacular challenge, and DragonGoddess's Tick Tock challenge.

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Journal Entry 8 by winginnaewing at Aurora, Colorado USA on Saturday, November 23, 2019
This book arrived while we were on vacation, and then I procrastinated getting it journaled. Sigh. Thank you hyphen8 for having this book come back to me (I first journaled it July 2018, and wanted it, but wanted all the things, so...it went back into maryzee's commemorative box). It wasn't so long ago that I went to the Dark Skies observatory in Colorado and it makes me happy there are places trying to limit the light pollution.

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