TWILIGHT , the transition period between day and night, called in the Bible bein ha-arbayim (Heb. בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם, Ex. 12:6), and in rabbinic literature bein ha-shemashot (Heb. בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת, Ber. 2b; Avot 5:9). Whether twilight forms part of day or the night is a moot question in the Talmud (Shab. 34b). Its exact duration was also a matter of dispute. According to R. *Yose, the transition from day to night is instantaneous, whereas R. *Nehemiah said twilight lasted for nine minutes after sunset (i.e., the length of a walk of half a mile = 1000 ells, approx. 560 meters). The amora Samuel said it lasts for 13½ minutes and according to another opinion 12 minutes (Shab. 34b). The codifiers established the duration of twilight at 18 minutes, i.e., when the sun is about 3½ degrees below the horizon (Tur, oḤ 293). Actual night begins only with the appearance of three stars in the sky (called ẓet ha-kokhavim, Ber. 2b; see also Neh. 4:15). This traditional calculation of the duration of twilight deviates only slightly from the exact astronomical twilight.
Twilight on Friday is reckoned as Sabbath eve and consequently no work may be performed then. The Sabbath candles must be lit before twilight (Shab. 2:7). The twilight at the end of the Sabbath is calculated as still belonging to the Sabbath day which concludes with the appearance of three stars in the sky. This rule applies also to the beginning and conclusion of the holidays. Before the beginning of the Day of Atonement, twilight is reckoned from approximately one hour before the stars would become visible. All religious ceremonies which ought to be performed only at night, e.g., the recital of the evening service, the kindling of *Ḥanukkah lights, the reading of the *Megillah, should be observed only after twilight; but if they are performed during twilight they are valid and do not have to be repeated.
Sh. Ar., oḤ 261:1–3; Eisenstein, Dinim, 39; je, 3 (1903), 501; 11 (1905), 591–7; et, 3 (1951), 121–9, s.v.Bein ha-Shemashot.
Twilight ★★★ The Magic Hour 1998 (R)
It's a pleasure to see pros at work, even if the story is a familiar one. In the noir world of L.A., ex-cop, ex-drunk, ex-P.I. Harry Ross (Newman) is living above the garage at the estate of movie star marrieds Jack (Hackman) and Catherine (Sarandon) Ames, for whom Harry has done several jobs. The cancerstricken Jack asks Harry to handle a blackmail payoff, which seems to resurrect the circumstances of femme fatale Catherine's first husband's alleged suicide. Also involved is Harry's colleague Raymond Hope (Garner)and Harry's exflame, Verna (Channing), a cop investigating a murder with ties to the entire ugly situation. 94m/C VHS, DVD . Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Gene Hackman, James Garner, Stockard Channing, Reese Witherspoon, Giancarlo Esposito, Liev Schreiber, Margo Martindale, John Spencer, M. Emmet Walsh; D: Robert Benton; W: Robert Benton, Richard Russo; C: Piotr Sobocinski; M: Elmer Bernstein.
twilight, period between sunset and total darkness or between total darkness and sunrise. Total darkness does not occur immediately when the sun sinks below the horizon because light from the sun that strikes the atmosphere is scattered (both by the air itself and by suspended matter, e.g., dust and smoke). Civil twilight ends when the center of the sun is 6° below the horizon. Although it is still not very dark, it is necessary to use artificial light to carry out most activities. Nautical twilight ends when the sun's center is 12° below the horizon; at about this time the light is too dim for the user of a sextant to see a sharp horizon. Astronomical twilight ends when the sun's center is 18° below the horizon; by this time even the faintest stars overhead can be seen. (Similar definitions apply to morning twilight.) During twilight, Venus or Mercury is often seen as the evening star or morning star. The length of twilight depends on latitude and the time of year. Twilight is generally shorter at the equator, where the sun's path toward the horizon is more nearly vertical than at higher latitudes; typically, astronomical twilight may last for 1 hr at the equator and 11/2 hr in New York City.
twi·light / ˈtwīˌlīt/ • n. the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the refraction and scattering of the sun's rays from the atmosphere. ∎ the period of the evening during which this takes place, between daylight and darkness: a pleasant walk in the woods at twilight. ∎ [in sing.] fig. a period or state of obscurity, ambiguity, or gradual decline: he was in the twilight of his career.
twilight zone a situation or conceptual area that is characterized by being undefined, intermediate, or mysterious.