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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: December 2, 2023
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First submittedAugust 14, 2017
Times taken24,575
Average score54.2%
Rating4.21
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Brightness
Country
0.001
Central African Republic
0.002
South Sudan
0.003
Somalia
0.003
Tuvalu
0.005
Chad
0.005
Eritrea
0.005
Madagascar
0.005
Mauritania
Brightness
Country
0.005
Niger
0.006
Mongolia
0.007
Mali
0.007
Solomon Islands
0.008
Guinea-Bissau
0.010
D. R. Congo
0.011
Liberia
0.013
Ethiopia
Brightness
Country
0.014
Kiribati
0.014
Namibia
0.014
Sierra Leone
0.016
Guyana
0.018
Guinea
0.019
Botswana
0.020
North Korea
0.020
Papua New Guinea
+27
Level 70
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 76
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 54
Feb 1, 2024
Yet not at all surprising. Every country on this list is poor or developing.
+5
Level 84
Sep 9, 2021
So that's why they call it the Dark Continent.
+2
Level 76
Oct 22, 2021
It's really noticable in the source map, which is beautiful and fascinating:

https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/

+8
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 ∞
Dec 2, 2023
Interesting. I wonder why that is.
+1
Level 92
Feb 8, 2024
Based on personal experience, I'd say the following:

1. Operational lighting. Due to most drilling and pumping taking place around the clock, and the hazardous conditions of an operating drill or rig, they are well lit all night. As the work areas are frequently in open-scaffolding type structures, more light spills out than would from an office building with more walls & tinted windows, etc.

2. Safety and Security. The areas around the actual site are illuminated much more brightly than your standard parking lots. Brighter lights helps with surveillance, monitoring, and preventing accidents or unauthorized access.

3. Oilfield/Boom Towns. Beside the fields, you'll frequently see accommodations, office, and entertainment centers spring up, adding their light.

4. Flaring and burning off gasses and fuels. Not as common or consistent as other lights, but noticeably adds to the light pollution due to its elevation and color.

+7
Level 67
Oct 22, 2021
Vatican City? Monaco? Singa... oh, wrong quiz.
+1
Level 47
Feb 1, 2024
I agree.
+2
Level 50
Oct 22, 2021
I wish my country had less light pollution...
+1
Level 66
Oct 22, 2021
Where is Netherlands? :))
+25
Level 73
Oct 22, 2021
It's in Europe, just north of Belgium
+1
Level 57
Oct 22, 2021
correct
+4
Level 74
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.

+2
Level 59
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!
+9
Level 48
Oct 24, 2021
I am very surprised Bhutan with all their traditions and not much technology wasn't on here
+1
Level 59
Dec 2, 2023
Interesting Fact #610: Televisions were banned in Bhutan until the year 1999.
+3
Level 87
Apr 3, 2022
And Algeria, with no one living in 95%+ of the land area (Sahara), isn't on here?
+1
Level 67
Dec 2, 2023
Neither is Libya.
+1
Level 78
Dec 2, 2023
Forgot about Madagascar 🤦‍♂️
+1
Level 59
Dec 2, 2023
Nice quiz. Minor issue, but the description should end with a question mark.
+1
Level 70
Jan 31, 2024
Some interesting answers there - it was hard to think of enough countries outside Africa. Might help to clarify what is meant by "entire territory " if a country as i started thinking about Greenland as part of Denmark.
+1
Level 75
Jan 31, 2024
The descriptor says "over the entire territory of the country." If that's true, all the small island states with multiple islands (think Marshall Islands, rather than Barbados) should be here. Even if it's only land area, it's really hard to understand Tuvalu's high position on this ranking relative to other similar states.
+1
Level 21
Jan 31, 2024
how tf did i not think of north korea
+1
Level 30
Jan 31, 2024
Chad is a shocker considering its one of the most air polluted countries in the world.
+1
Level 50
Jan 31, 2024
Not really when you think about it... wouldn't that pollution cover up the light?