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Clear Outside Weather Forecasts for Astronomers

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I find it a very useful tool and more accurate than the others I have tried, sure there has been times when it is completely wrong but we all know the weather can change in an instant

For example it has saved me travelling to Coventry today, for the solar event at the Lunt fort, as it forecast cloud cover. I just telephoned my cousin in Coventry for confirmation and she says it is very cloudy :shocked: Also today in Northants it forecasts clear skies at 9am turning to cloud at 10am, total precision :smiley:

I am more than happy with it.

Edited by Pig

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Hi Gareth,

I've removed the email headers from your post to protect your privacy - the issue is your end, one of your aliases is blocked - I'm fairly sure all @mac.com email addresses no longer exist it's now @me.com or @icloud.com.

With regards to the forecast, I've not seen the issue you mention myself so I don't think it's a bug, just the information we get from the weather models. It may be easier when I switch the views over to Midnight-Midnight to see this and I will keep my eyes open for a pattern.

Cheers,

Grant

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I find it a very useful tool and more accurate than the others I have tried, sure there has been times when it is completely wrong but we all know the weather can change in an instant

For example it has saved me travelling to Coventry today, for the solar event at the Lunt fort, as it forecast cloud cover. I just telephoned my cousin in Coventry for confirmation and she says it is very cloudy :shocked: Also today in Northants it forecasts clear skies at 9am turning to cloud at 10am, total precision :smiley:

I am more than happy with it.

Thanks for the feedback :)

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Hi Grant, essentially no, nothing happens when I click the Tour Button.

The button depresses but then nothing in IE9. Well not quite nothing, a dotted rectange now surrounds the button. (active scripting enabled).

OK in FF 30 odd.

OK in Avant Browser with IE9 rendering engine.

OK in SlimBrowser with IE9,IE8,or IE7 rendering engine. (handy browser for people who still love IE6)

OK in Opera 12.17

OK in Maxthon 3.4.5 (although Start button displays on the left rather than central as per the other browsers).

OK in Lunascape 6.8.10 (with both Gecko and Trident rendering engines, did not try with WebKit engine).

OK in Safari (but must enable Java Script ((disabled by default)) button dispays on the left).

OS, Win 7 Ultimate.

hth,

Rich

Hi Rich,

I've been playing around with Internet Explorer 9 in Windows 7 and cannot replicate this issue. It's interesting that it works for you using IE9 rendering engines in different browsers - this made me wander if it's a caching issue?

There was a temporary glitch with the tour feature last week that was fixed but, if you had cached the page during that time before it was fixed this may be why it's still not functioning for you. Can you give it a try again and perhaps try a forced refresh?

Thanks,

Grant

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All,

I'm pleased to say the new default view on Clear Outside is Midday -> Midday but, should you prefer Midnight -> Midnight, there is a button top right of the forecast that will let you change the view. Once changed, the site will remember your preference.

Cheers,

Grant

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I can't figure these forecasts and where they get their predictions from. The BBC and ScopeNights both say clear all night for me, ClearOutside says cloudy all night. Completely at odds with each other. I guess I'll just have to keep an eye on Sat24 as I usually do...

ChrisH

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I think Scope Nights and the BBC will both be getting their data from the Met Office - we don't use only the Met Office so our forecasts will not be identical.

During testing, we didn't compare are forecasts against others, we compared our forecasts against reality - that's the only way to judge.

For what it's worth, the forecast for tonight for me does look similar across Clear Outside and other places.

Cheers,

Grant

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Wow what a great idea and brilliantly implemented. Hats off to you guys...

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

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Hi Gareth,

I've removed the email headers from your post to protect your privacy - the issue is your end, one of your aliases is blocked - I'm fairly sure all @mac.com email addresses no longer exist it's now @me.com or @icloud.com.

With regards to the forecast, I've not seen the issue you mention myself so I don't think it's a bug, just the information we get from the weather models. It may be easier when I switch the views over to Midnight-Midnight to see this and I will keep my eyes open for a pattern.

Cheers,

Grant

Hello Grant

the origional @mac which i use (you know the one haha) is the actual email. then with the @me, i gained the @me alias of the same name, and the @icloud as the same as they liked changing them. i was wondering when they would eventually stop the @mac account from working 8 years on.  i remember the days i paid £99 for it a year for a measly 1gig of space haha. i know i have issues on my macbook pro where certain fetures dont work cos i havent switched properly to an @me (or icloud)  (back to my mac for instance)  but well perhaps nows the time i need to really think bout putting it to sleep.

i'll give the mid day to mid day a go see if it fixs my issue :)

many thanks again guys for such a fantastic product :)

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OK Grant, I have recleared the IE9 cache, and still no joy with the Start Tour Button., but only in the IE9 browser all others tested OK.

The new time option display also works just fine and set default location is also OK including my obvious time zone difference.

Curious issue.

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^lol, on the Clear Outside web page there is a How To Use menu, within this there is an lightly animated tour of the Forecast page explaining what the various displayed information means.

hth,

Rich

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^lol, on the Clear Outside web page there is a How To Use menu, within this there is an lightly animated tour of the Forecast page explaining what the various displayed information means.

hth,

Rich

ahhhhh i see now haha i actually skipped the howto and went straight into it haha.  thought i was missing out on summet then :(

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The forecast for the weekend was near spot on.

Would have had two clear nights over the weekend but loads of contrails stopped play. :mad:

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Having had a bit of  a moan about the accuracy of the Clear Outside forecast for 15/6 when a lunar occultation was due, I suggested that I would study a few more nights. Here are the results

I've looked at 8 more nights 

I only looked at nights and simply tried to assess whether there were likely to be clear spells or not. I did what I would normally do; i.e. look at forecasts in the evening, and I used the BBC weather app as comparison. Below is a summary and I have tried to sum up by 'scoring' 1 for accurate, 0.5 for partly accurate and 0 for inaccurate.

16/6
CO forecast: clear from midnight
BBC: cloudy some thick
 
Actual 22.00 complete cloud
01.15 complete cloud
04.00 thinning cloud c 50%
 
BBC 1
CO 0
 
17/6
Forecast at 19.30
CO completely clear  now and all night
BBC  partly cloudy until 00.00 then cloudy
Currently partly cloudy 75/80%
Forecast at 22.00
CO completely clear
BBC partly cloudy than cloudy from 23.00
Actual complete cloud
03.00 complete cloud
Slight rain o/night
 
BBC 1
CO 0
 
18/6
Forecast at 19.30
BBC clear till 2.00
CO clear till 4.00
Currently clear
 
Night actual: clear
 
BBC 1
CO 1
 
19/6
Forcast at 19.30
BBC clear from 22.00 to 01.00 inclusive 
CO - low clouds through the night around 100% 
2100 BBC showing clear 22.00 to 0100
CO still showing cloudy 
Clear then clouded over just after 2300. Cloudy at 4.00 
BBC 0
CO 1
 
20/6
Forecast at 1930
BBC clear from 2300 all night
CO mainly clear from 2200 but 90% cloud 0200 and 0400 with lower amounts in between 
00.00 Partly cloudy
0200 mainly clear
 
BBC 0.5
CO 0.5
 
21/6
Forecast at 2100
BBC partly cloudy until 0200 then cloudy
CO 25-50 % cloudy all night
Currently almost totally cloudy
Cloudy 2200
Cloudy 0200
 
BBC 1
CO 1
 
 
 
22/6
Forecast at 1930
BBC partly cloudy all night
CO around 100% cloudy all night with clearer spell at 2.00
Forecast at 2100 same for both
Actual almost complete cloud
2.00 complete cloud
 
BBC 0
CO 0
 
23/6
 
Forecast at 2000
BBC partly cloudy all night but clear at 2200 and 0000
CO clear at 2200 and from 0200 onward 
 
2200 90% clear Actual
 
BBC 1
CO 1
 
Overall 'Scores' out of 8: BBC 5.5 and CO 4.5. Although after the 'glitches' of 15/6 and 16/6 and 17/6 things are much more even and CO is ahead.
I hope this is useful
Kerry  

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I hate to say it, but I've found Accuweather.com gives a more accurate forecast for where I am than Clearoutside. That said, it's still better than the BBC!

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The BBC were a total failure last night in predicting clear skies for my region, CO was better. I really don't know where the BBC got their forecast from because the clues from satellite images as to what would happen were obvious.

ChrisH

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Most of the attention at the moment is on the Astronomy Tools website launched yesterday but we haven't forgotten Clear Outside  :smile:

We have made some minor changes intended to make the forecast easier to use and faster to load:

A number of people have asked for the Moon info bar to be larger, so that has been done.

If you hover over the day bar you will see a popup with the Sun rise/set times. This feature now also works on touch devices (rather than hover, on touch devices you touch the bar for info). The same is true if you hover/touch on the Moon phase box. 

Clear Outside now auto-updates ISS passover details for locations that have been viewed in the past 7 days (the server will check every minute for locations that have been viewed in the past 7 days to see if it’s ISS data needs to be regenerated and if it does, it will do it). Previously the data was calculated/updated each time the page was loaded, which caused a delay. This will benefit those who check their forecasts at least once a week, they will notice the page loads much more quickly. 
The next significant update will be embeddable images that people can put in their forum signature or personal website showing their location's forecasts. 
Thank-you for using Clear Outside and for recommending it to friends  :glasses2:

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post-54-0-83097100-1404906745_thumb.png

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Are you planning on doing an auto cut-off for the forecast based on time - in a similar way to how it's done on the BBC website? (i.e. If it's 1pm, only the forecast for 1pm and later will be shown)

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Are you planning on doing an auto cut-off for the forecast based on time - in a similar way to how it's done on the BBC website? (i.e. If it's 1pm, only the forecast for 1pm and later will be shown)

Funny you should say that because that option has already been built but isn't switched on. Grant was saying only yesterday it is his preferred view and it does make sense so we we'll make it live soon. Perhaps even later today.

The 'Centre on Midnight' and 'Centre on Midday' options will remain  :smiley:

Steve

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As Steve mentioned, we were testing a current view version - this is now live and the default view.

You can now switch between three different view types:

-Start from Current Hour

-Center on Midnight

-Center on Midday

When you select a view, the site will remember you preference in the future.

Hopefully these three different views will provide a favourite option for everybody but if anybody has any other ways they would like to see things displayed please let me know.

Cheers,

Grant

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We have some more updates :smiley:

The first was requested a few days ago, it is a small embeddable forecast that people can put in their forum signatures or websites. My local forecast (for Exeter) can be seen in my signature below. 

It always starts on the current hour (updated hourly) and shows the forecast for the next 72 hours, in 2 hour increments. The thin black lines are midnight.

We have made it small to suit signatures etc but is easy to read - the top row shows the usual green-amber-red cloud rating and the bottom row is the total cloud forecast (blue is minimum cloud cover, white is maximum). Clicking on the mini forecast will take you to the full forecast. 

To embed a forecast in your signature or website please go to your local forecast then click on the 'Embed forecast' button (top-left). 

post-54-0-34269900-1405371802_thumb.png

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The other updates are related and are in anticipation of the return of astro darkness. 

The daylight bar now has more clearly defined darkness indicators. For example it shows astro darkness (black) returns here in Exeter Wed 16th. Hovering over the bar shows the duration of astro darkness is 01.07 - 01.45. 

Cause for celebration we think  :biggrin:

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