Sunday, 20 October 2013
Darkest Place On Planet
Last August we went to the darkest place in England, Exmoor, for the Perseid meteor shower and were rewarded with a great light show until the clouds took over but as dark as Exmoor was, and you find out just how dark when you have to find the toilet at 1am, where on the planet would we have to go for the darkest it could possibly be?
The darkest place on the planet would probably be somewhere in the middle of the Pacific ocean but it's hard to look up when you are being sea-sick over the side of a ship so where would we have to go on land?
Luckily, the International Dark-Sky Association put the third darkest place on the planet in the British Isles in Galloway Forest Park, South West Scotland.
The IDA use a sky quality meter (SQM) scale to measure darkness which ranges from 0 to 25. You would get a reading of 8 in the middle of a major city whereas a 24 would be measured in a photographer's dark room.
Based on this scale, Galloway has a darkness rating of 23 but the two darkest places on the planet are Cherry Springs State Park Pennsylvania, USA (SQM 23.14) and the darkest place where you can keep your feet dry on land is Lower Smokey Valley, Nevada, (SQM 23.69).
With a SQM of 21, Exmoor is on par with Death Valley but North Devon probably has a bit more of a hospitable climate and less of those sun-bleached cow heads cluttering up the place.