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Countries with the Least Light Pollution

Which countries have the least light pollution measured by average nighttime brightness over the entire territory of the country.
Quiz by mahble
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Last updated: September 4, 2021
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First submittedAugust 14, 2017
Times taken10,525
Average score57.1%
Rating4.07
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Brightness
Country
0.009
Eritrea
0.014
Niger
0.018
Mauritania
0.020
Mongolia
0.023
Chad
0.024
Mali
0.026
Namibia
Brightness
Country
0.028
Somalia
0.028
Afghanistan
0.030
Solomon Islands
0.032
Botswana
0.033
North Korea
0.034
Guyana
0.036
Guinea-Bissau
Brightness
Country
0.038
Sudan
0.038
Liberia
0.038
Kiribati
0.038
Ethiopia
0.041
D. R. Congo
0.042
Tanzania
0.042
Madagascar
+10
Level 69
Sep 4, 2021
The fact that Canada is not on the list with 90% of its territory hosting no humans while many more densely populated African countries make it is very indicative of the different impact they have
+1
Level 67
Oct 22, 2021
By a factor of about forty, no less! :O

The "Rad/1K pop" column in the source really tells the story here.

+1
Level 69
Sep 4, 2021
Central African Republic is not here, for real? As far as I remember, CAR is almost totally dark in Africa night images. Found it funny that even Guinea Bissau appears, but CAR don't.
+9
Level 75
Sep 4, 2021
It just misses out at 0.049. Actually there are clearly some strange things going on with this source, but I couldn't find anything better (for example, Bouvet Island, with a population of 0, supposedly has more light pollution than Tanzania, with 58 million)
+9
Level 76
Sep 5, 2021
Maybe they have one of those super powerful flashlights sending beacons.
+13
Level 76
Sep 8, 2021
It doesn't specify human-made brightness. A small island probably has a lot of brightness due to surrounding water reflecting starlight and moonlight, compared to a heavily forested country that absorbs starlight and moonlight. Just a guess.
+3
Level 72
Oct 22, 2021
Does seem bizarre that pacific nations with territory that is mostly ocean aren't on the list. Apart from Kiribati 🤷
+1
Level 45
Oct 22, 2021
solomon island is also there
+2
Level 74
Oct 22, 2021
It's hard to believe that countries comprising lots of far-flung islands shouldn't be at the top of this list. If one was to incorporate their national waters (not EEZ territory, just commonly recognized non-international waters), they would become the most sparsely-populated countries. And, aside from lights on ships, that territory would generate no artificial light. Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Tuvalu, the Maldives, and the Seychelles were among my first guesses. Must be a methodology issue.
+4
Level 75
Oct 22, 2021
The source calculates brightness per land area. If you look at the atolls of those island countries, you see that they're not exactly sparsely populated - take Male in the Maldives as an example. If you include water area it heavily biases results towards countries with a little land and a lot of water because that water as you said cannot produce light and nobody lives there, so it has no purpose for the quiz and makes no sense to include it. The Solomon Islands do make it because they are relatively large, forested islands with relatively small populations (which as we have seen is not entirely the determining factor, but it helps). Tuvalu, e.g. does not make it because it has very little *land* area.
+2
Level 74
Oct 22, 2021
I was just going by the description above which said "over the entire territory of the country."
+1
Level 75
Oct 23, 2021
Yeah, I guess that is a little unclear
+2
Level 50
Jun 5, 2022
Maybe it’s all those “CAR”
+2
Level 83
Sep 9, 2021
So that's why they call it the Dark Continent.
+1
Level 67
Oct 22, 2021
It's really noticable in the source map, which is beautiful and fascinating:

https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/

+3
Level 73
Oct 22, 2021
I think oil production or other heavy industrial uses have a huge impact on this map.

The oil fields of North Dakota are more of a bright spot on this map than the Minneapolis metro region.

Also, the North Slope of Alaska is another clear example.

Lastly, the largest white spot in South America is in the Venezuelan oil fields.

+2
Level 59
Oct 22, 2021
Vatican City? Monaco? Singa... oh, wrong quiz.
+1
Level 50
Oct 22, 2021
I wish my country had less light pollution...
+1
Level 65
Oct 22, 2021
Where is Netherlands? :))
+8
Level 70
Oct 22, 2021
It's in Europe, just north of Belgium
+1
Level 55
Oct 22, 2021
correct
+2
Level 72
Oct 22, 2021
Tricky-ish. I just got all the African countries and DPRK. I did try a few Oceanian countries, but after none of them hit I decided they were probably all off limits.

The other two were both total surprises for me.

+1
Level 55
Oct 22, 2021
I did the same except I got Mongolia. Not sure about Guyana but Mongolia's on there because it's the sparsest country in the world.
+1
Level 68
Oct 23, 2021
Very difficult until you figure out that most of them are in Africa!
+3
Level 35
Oct 24, 2021
I am very surprised Bhutan with all their traditions and not much technology wasn't on here
+1
Level 85
Apr 3, 2022
And Algeria, with no one living in 95%+ of the land area (Sahara), isn't on here?