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

Our night skies are disappearing, due to the increasing brightness and volume of man-made light across the world, but there are pockets of darkness remaining. In The End of Night, Paul Bogard takes readers from the dazzling Las Vegas Strip to national parks such as Acadia in Maine and Death Valley in California, where thousands of stars are still visible to those who look.

Bogard numbers his chapters in reverse order (from 9 to 1), using astronomer John Bortle's dark-sky scale to trace his journey from bright city skies through the glow of suburbia, to remote places where true darkness still exists. Along the way, he explores the effects of light pollution on our public spaces, our energy resources, our health and our society. He interviews people acquainted with the night, from astronomers to night-shift workers to the man responsible for Paris's carefully calibrated nighttime glow. Although he focuses mainly on darkness and light pollution in the United States, he also visits Quebec, Italy and even the Canary Islands to meet with people concerned about the inexorable spread of light.

While Bogard admits that the spread of light pollution is unlikely to stop or reverse, he holds out hope for the preservation of certain dark places, particularly the northern Minnesota lake he loved as a boy. His accessible blend of personal narrative, scientific studies, history and folklore encourages readers to explore the night--and may inspire them to turn off a few lights and go in search of the stars. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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