Cycling into the Cool District of Rotterdam (it is really called the cool district), we find a nightlife area just like South Street. Lots of people dressed up, having fun, an endless line of cars looking for parking. Every restaraunt has its own lights, there are bright street lights, signs and ads. It feels just as bright and just as alive (except that everything is made of stone).
While Brendan works the telescope, I start counting the number of light bulbs you can see from the corner. Immediately there are too many, but I try to count. After roughly fifteen minutes I have an answer: 250 light bulbs.
I see four different categories of lighting:
-Pancake shaped sodium lamps
-Warm reddish LED
Of these, the first three types put spots in my eyes if I looked at them for even a second! I'm thinking it can't be good to have spots in your eyes all the time.
A lot of people ask us, isn't this a horrible place to do astronomy? It is! But we have to meet the people where they are, we can't send out an invitation and hope that everyone joins us at the observatory. We're trying to convince people that the night sky is still up there, that there's plenty to see, and if we miss it, we should do something about it. It is a problem that touches every electrified community in the world in the same way.
The clubs in Rotterdam close at 5 am. I really wonder if anyone who dances and drinks until sunrise does much the next day. We didn't...