If you enjoy watching the night sky in search of cool celestial phenomena, like the total lunar eclipse of May 26, 2021, you know that light pollution is a hindrance to seeing the beauty of the cosmos.
In 2016, a study entitled “World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness” found that one-third of the world’s population can’t see the Milky Way, and 80 percent is affected by light pollution. This has more consequences than some of us realize. Light pollution can disrupt sleep patterns, disturb wildlife and ecosystems, and even harm human health, according to the International Dark-Sky Association.
A new study by the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, an astrophysical research institute located in the Canary Islands, set out to find the darkest places on Earth. Using 11 million photometers from 44 of the darkest places, the study concluded that Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, also located in the Canary Islands, is the darkest place on Earth.
The Roque de los Muchachos observatory is comprised of dozens of telescopes and instruments, including the largest single-aperture telescope in the world, and is located 7,438 feet above sea level, according to The Guardian.
Other dark spots included the Sierra Nevada in the US, the Montsec commune in northeastern France, and the Extremadura in Spain.