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Twilight Zone Day

"The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls."

~ The Tide Rises the Tide Falls, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

In human history and related folklore, twilight is considered a liminal time, a transitional period of eerie and strange occurrences - social hierarchies may be reversed or temporarily dissolved, continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes taken for granted may be thrown into doubt. Many cultures regarded it as a time during which humans were vulnerable to interactions and hauntings by witches, spirits, faeries, and ghosts! Animals most active during the twilight hours and are said to be "crepuscular", including: guinea pigs, rabbits, jaguars, ocelots, moose, wombats, and wallabies! If you live near the Arctic Circle, the "sustained twilight of May" provides special twilight opportunities of the astronomical kind. "The Belt of Venus", a pink glow above the horizon, is visible shortly in the twilight before sunrise or after sunset!

Twilight on Earth is the illumination of the lower atmosphere when the Sun itself is not directly visible because it is below the horizon. Twilight is produced by sunlightscattering in the upper atmosphere, illuminating the lower atmosphere so that Earth's surface is neither completely lit nor completely dark. 

There are three established and widely accepted subcategories of twilight: civil twilight (brightest), nautical twilight, and astronomical twilight (darkest).

The collateral adjective for twilight is crepuscular which is sometimes applied to insects, fish, and mammals that are most active during that time.

Atmospheric phenomenon which can be observed during the progression of twilight include the Belt of Venus, and Earth's shadow. 

The Belt of Venus, Venus's Girdle is visible shortly before sunrise or after sunset, during civil twilight, when a pinkish glow extending roughly 10–20° above the horizon surrounds the observer.

Earth's shadow or Earth shadow is the shadow that Earth itself casts onto its atmosphere and into outer space, toward the antisolar point. During twilight (both early dusk and late dawn), the shadow's visible fringe (sometimes called the dark segment or twilight wedge appears in a clear sky as a dark and diffused band low above the horizon.


For more on the sustained twilight of May (the "bright nights") experienced in Denmark, click the picture of Arctic twilight.

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