Progress in observational cosmology over the past five years has established that the Universe is dominated dynamically by dark matter and dark energy. Both these new and apparently independent forms of matter energy have properties that are inconsistent with anything in the existing standard model of particle physics, and it appears that the latter must be extended. We review what is known about dark matter and energy from their impact on the light of the night sky. Most of the candidates that have been proposed so far are not perfectly black, but decay into or otherwise interact with photons in characteristic ways that can be accurately modelled and compared with observational data. We show how experimental limits on the intensity of cosmic background radiation in the microwave, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, X-ray and γ-ray bands put strong limits on decaying vacuum energy, light axions, neutrinos, unstable weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) and objects like black holes. Our conclusion is that the dark matter is most likely to be WIMPs if conventional cosmology holds; or higher-dimensional sources if spacetime needs to be extended.