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a place in Indonesia at night

Night (also described as night time or night-time or nighttime, unconventionally spelled as nite) is the period of ambient darkness from sunset to sunrise, when the Sun is below the horizon, described as being the night sky. The exact time when night begins and ends depends on the location and varies throughout the year, based on factors such as season and latitude.

Milky Way, Australia

Astronomical night is the period between astronomical dusk and astronomical dawn when the Sun is between 18 and 90 degrees below the horizon and does not illuminate the sky. As seen from latitudes between about 48.56° and 65.73° north or south of the Equator, complete darkness does not occur around the summer solstice because, although the Sun sets, it is never more than 18° below the horizon at lower culmination, -90° sun a angles occur at Tropic of Cancer on December Solstice and Tropic of Capricorn on June Solstice, and at the equator on equinoxes.

The opposite of night is day (or "daytime", to distinguish it from "day" referring to a 24-hour period). Twilight is the period of night after sunset or before sunrise, when the Sun still illuminates the sky when it is below the horizon. At any given time, one side of Earth is bathed in sunlight (the daytime) while the other side is in the shadow caused by Earth blocking the sunlight. The central part of the shadow is called the umbra.

Natural illumination at night is still at some times provided by any of, or a combination of, moonlight, planetary light, starlight, zodiacal light, gegenschein, and airglow. In some circumstances, aurorae, lightning, and bioluminescence provide some illumination.

The glow provided by artificial lighting is definable as light pollution because it interferes with the proper functioning of observational astronomy and ecosystems.

The word night can be used in a different sense as the time between bedtime, and morning, or, awakening; if the person is saying goodbye to another, or, going to sleep during the nighttime. In common communication, the word night is used as a farewell ("good night") and sometimes shortened to "night", mainly though for when someone is going to sleep.[1] For example: "It was nice to see you. Good night!", unlike "good morning", "good afternoon", and "good evening", "good night" (or "goodnight") is not used as a greeting.[citation needed]

Duration and geographical[edit]

On Earth, an average night in completion is less time at completion than the time complete of all of the average daytime, due to two factors. Firstly, the Sun's apparent disk is not a point, but has an angular diameter of about 32 arcminutes (32'). Secondly, the atmosphere refracts sunlight so that some of it reaches the ground when the Sun is below the horizon by about 34'. The combination of these two factors means that light reaches the ground when the center of the solar disk is below the horizon by about 50'. Without these effects, daytime and night would be the same length on both equinoxes, the moments when the Sun appears to contact the celestial equator. On the equinoxes, daytime actually lasts almost 14 minutes longer than night does at the Equator, and even longer towards the poles.

The drainage basin of the Nile river and delta at night

The summer and winter solstices mark the shortest and longest nights, respectively. The closer a location is to either the North Pole or the South Pole, the wider the range of variation in the night's duration. Although daytime and night nearly equalize in length on the equinoxes, the ratio of night to day changes more rapidly at high latitudes than at low latitudes before and after an equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, Denmark experiences shorter nights in June than India. In the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica sees longer nights in June than Chile. Both hemispheres experience the same patterns of night length at the same latitudes, but the cycles are 6 months apart so that one hemisphere experiences long nights (winter) while the other is experiencing short nights (summer).

In the region within either polar circle, the variation in daylight hours is so extreme that part of summer sees a period without night intervening between consecutive days, while part of winter sees a period without daytime intervening between consecutive nights. [2]

When night occurs without cloud, the loss of the heat of the day due to radiative cooling is increased. [3][4]

On other celestial bodies[edit]

The phases of the Moon

The phenomenon of day and night is due to the rotation of a celestial body about its axis, creating an illusion of the sun rising and setting. Different bodies spin at very different rates, however. Some may spin much faster than Earth, while others spin extremely slowly, leading to very long days and nights. The planet Venus rotates once every 224.7 days – by far the slowest rotation period of any of the major planets. In contrast, the gas giant Jupiter's sidereal day is only 9 hours and 56 minutes.[5] However, it is not just the sidereal rotation period which determines the length of a planet's day-night cycle but the length of its orbital period as well - Venus has a rotation period of 224.7 days, but a day-night cycle just 116.75 days long due to its retrograde rotation and orbital motion around the Sun. Mercury has the longest day-night cycle as a result of its 3:2 resonance between its orbital period and rotation period - this resonance gives it a day-night cycle that is 176 days long. A planet may experience large temperature variations between day and night, such as Mercury, the planet closest to the sun. This is one consideration in terms of planetary habitability or the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

Effect on life[edit]


The disappearance of sunlight, the primary energy source for life on Earth, has dramatic effects on the morphology, physiology and behavior of almost every organism. Some animals sleep during the night, while other nocturnal animals including moths and crickets are active during this time. The effects of day and night are not seen in the animal kingdom alone; plants have also evolved adaptations to cope best with the lack of sunlight during this time. For example, crassulacean acid metabolism is a unique type of carbon fixation which allows photosynthetic plants to store carbon dioxide in their tissues as organic acids during the night, which can then be used during the day to synthesize carbohydrates. This allows them to keep their stomata closed during the daytime, preventing transpiration of precious water.



Upper Paleolithic art was found to show (by Leroi-Gourhan) a pattern of choices where the portrayal of animals that were experienced as dangerous were located at a distance from the entrance of a cave dwelling at a number of different cave locations. [7]

Nótt, the personification of night in Norse mythology, rides her horse in this 19th-century painting by Peter Nicolai Arbo.

In western culture night is strongly associated with Gothic culture[8]

Film and Theatre[edit]

Films that exhibit the theme of gothic culture, or are featuring predominantly night-time scenes are the Crow, based on a graphic novel by James O’Barr, shot predominantly at night, until the 31st of March 1993, when the leading actor starring in the film was actually shot while on scene and consequently died. [9][10] The Dark Knight, produced during 2008 and directed by Christopher Nolan, was based on the comic-book character Batman. [11] Originally created by Robert Kane and subsequently William Finger, premiering in comic form during May of 1939, a few months before the commencement of World War 2, Kane created graphic art in the noir style, at a time prior to the innovation of the film noir genre. [12]


In literature, night and the lack of light are often color-associated with blackness which is historically symbolic in many cultures for villainy, non-existence, or a lack of knowledge (with the knowledge usually symbolized by light or illumination).

Religion and Spirituality[edit]

The cultural significance of the night in Islam differs from that in Western culture. The Quran was revealed during the Night of Power, the most significant night according to Islam. Muhammad made his famous journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and then to heaven in the night. Another prophet, Abraham came to a realization of the supreme being in charge of the universe at night.

Among the Abipone "certain little ducks flying at night", making a hissing noise to express mourning, convey the souls of the dead. [13] Among the Yucatan it was customary to leave a child alone at night with ashes, and if there was found an animals footprint in the ashes the morning after, that animal was determined to be the child's guardian animal. [14]

Psychological aspects[edit]

Night is often associated with danger and evil, because of the psychological connection of night's all-encompassing darkness to the fear of the unknown and darkness's obstruction of a major sensory system (the sense of sight). Nighttime is naturally associated with vulnerability and danger for human physical survival. Criminals, animals, and other potential dangers can be concealed by darkness. Midnight has a particular importance in human imagination and culture.

The belief in magic often includes the idea that magic and magicians are more powerful at night. Séances of spiritualism are usually conducted closer to midnight. Similarly, mythical and folkloric creatures such as vampires and werewolves are described as being more active at night. Ghosts are believed to wander around almost exclusively during night-time. In almost all cultures, there exist stories and legends warning of the dangers of night-time. In fact, the Saxons called the darkness of night the 'death mist'.[citation needed]


Electric light was first demonstrated during 1835.[15][16]

As artificial lighting has improved, especially after the Industrial Revolution, night time activity has increased and become a significant part of the economy in most places. Many establishments, such as nightclubs, bars, convenience stores, fast-food restaurants, gas stations, distribution facilities, and police stations now operate 24 hours a day or stay open as late as 1 or 2 a.m. Even without artificial light, moonlight sometimes makes it possible to travel or work outdoors at night.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of good night". Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  2. ^ "cpe/environments/sky/features/sun_moon/daylight". University of Guelph ( Archived from the original on 27 May 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Example sentences cloudless night". The Sunday Times newspaper. (Collins Dictionary COBUILD). 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  4. ^ Oke, T. R. (1997). "Surface Climate Processes". In Bailey, William G; Oke, T. R.; Rouse, Wayne R (eds.). Surface Climates of Canada. Volume 4 of Canadian Association of Geographers series in Canadian geography (illustrated ed.). McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 25. ISBN 0773509283. Retrieved 13 June 2021 – via Google Books. |volume= has extra text (help)
  5. ^ Seidelmann, P. K.; Abalakin, V. K.; Bursa, M.; Davies, M. E.; et al. (2001). "Report of the IAU/IAG Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements of the Planets and Satellites: 2000". HNSKY Planetarium Program. Retrieved 2 February 2007.
  6. ^ moma learning MoMA Retrieved May 23, 2021
  7. ^ Leroi-Gourhan; Lewis-Williams, JD (24 April 2014). Zvelebil, Marek; Jordan, Peter; Cummings, Vicki (eds.). Art for the Living, in, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers (Ebook). OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780191025266. Retrieved 26 May 2021. the source doesn't state the location "painted in the depths" had natural light or no natural light
  8. ^ "review of; Clive Bloom's Gothic Histories The Taste for Terror, 1764 to the Present". Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  9. ^ Power, Edward (21 May 2019). "Some like it goth: How 'The Crow' transcended the tragic, on-camera death of its star to become a superhero classic". Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  10. ^ "The Crow (1994)". Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  11. ^ Monnet, Agnieszka Soltysik (2012). Monnet, Agnieszka Soltysik; Edwards, Justin D (eds.). Batman, the Gothic and Popular Culture, in, The Gothic in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture (Hardcover). Routledge. pp. 96–97. ISBN 9780415806763. Retrieved 26 May 2021. Lay summaryGoogle books.
  12. ^ Andrae, Thomas (September 2020). "The Darkest Knight: The Gothic Roots of Batman Comics". Source: Notes in the History of Art. 40 (1): 19–33. doi:10.1086/711341. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  13. ^ Burnett Tylor, Edward (1871). "XII. ANIMISM - contd". Primitive Culture: Researches Into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art and Custom. II. I. London: John Murray, Albemarle street. p. 6. Retrieved 22 June 2021 – via Google Books. - Burnett Tyler was using information from: Dobrizhoffer Abipones volume II
  14. ^ Burnett Tylor, Edward (1871). "XV. ANIMISM - (contd)". Primitive Culture: Researches Into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art and Custom. II. I. London: John Murray, Albemarle street. p. 180. Retrieved 22 June 2021 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ "The History of the Light Bulb". Department of Energy, Washington, D.C. 22 November 2013. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  16. ^ Smith, N (1 October 2018). "The Whole Story of Light Bulbs". doi:10.1049/et.2018.0906. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021 – via Google scholar.


Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]

  • Quotations related to Night at Wikiquote
  • The dictionary definition of night at Wiktionary
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