In a book that I read recently (either The Cloud Roads or The Serpent Sea– I finished the first and immediately started the second), as some characters are traveling from one place to another, there’s a passing mention that they weren’t able to hunt at night because the moon wasn’t out and it was too dark. Which sort of bugged me, and I was reminded of it tonight when I took Emmy out for our post-dinner walk– it’s very clear tonight, and a lot of stars were visible, even here in the light-polluted suburbs, but the moon wasn’t up yet.
And the thing is, while it’s darker when the moon isn’t out, it’s not really too dark to see, because there are a whole lot of stars. This isn’t that obvious if you live in a built-up area, but one time we went on a fishing trip up in the mountains in New Mexico, and it was really amazing just how bright the stars can be, if you’re in a place with no clouds and no light pollution. A couple of times, I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (also, because the air mattress we were using had a leak, and would slowly deflate), and you really didn’t need a flashlight– just the stars provided plenty of light to see by.
Of course, if there’s thick cloud cover and no moon, and you’re out in the middle of nowhere, it really is alarmingly difficult to see anything. But that’s a function of the overcast skies, not the absence of the moon per se.
I don’t have a larger point to make here– this is mostly to fill time while SteelyKid watches one more episode of Animaniacs before bedtime. But it’s something that bugged me, and probably not all that many other people. This is the price of geekdom.