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I've had it with "Clear Outside"


shropshire lad
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I noticed CO was forecasting cloud cover recently and it happened to be quite clear. As other have commented, CO has slipped down my preferences for planning sessions. For me, it is now usually MET Office for the daily forecast and Weather&Radar for the cloud radar/forecast in 15 minute blocks. No forecast is 100% accurate, even MET Office changes its forecast by the hour. Perhaps it is the change in season that has thrown CO off a bit and the UK is full of areas with their own micro-climates, thinking of the Lake District being one just up the M6 from here. The apps get coupled with a quick glance through the window these days, just to be sure.

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It's been pants since Apple bought out Darksky (the weather data that CO uses).

Met Office appears to have been the most accurate this year (for me) - but only for 24 hours in advance. I use it to check the coming evening.

CO - the website - has such a great user interface, though. I still use it to consider the week ahead.

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I've started querying OpenWeatherMap data, and importing it into a Telegraf / Influxdb / Grafana stack. Now I have my own dashboard that emails me when cloudiness goes below 10%. Strangely enough, it hasn't improved the cloudiness problem.

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13 minutes ago, Pixies said:

IMet Office appears to have been the most accurate this year (for me) - but only for 24 hours in advance. I use it to check the coming evening.

Same experience for me. The BBC also used to be quite good for here too, but not so much now so I just use the Met Office.. I've given up on CO - used to be very good but not any more.

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We have one of the most variable climates on earth, and loads of micro climates locally. It's always been the same for all of my life.

I've learned long ago that, apart from rare spells of UK wide settled weather, it's literally a waste of time to do anything other than use Mark I eyeballs to check for yourself what's happening in your personal observing location.

Modern technology has many benefits, but I don't think predicting accurately and dependably clear or cloudy conditions at a very local level is one of them.

Dave

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3 hours ago, 7170 said:

Same experience for me. The BBC also used to be quite good for here too, but not so much now so I just use the Met Office.. I've given up on CO - used to be very good but not any more.

The bbc no longer use met office data but instead rely on meteo group (belgian iirc so well used to forecasting rain) , certainly some questionable forecasting from them. Met Office daily/ hourly certainly seems to have a high degree of accuracy, I use both there daily and mountain forecast service regularly.

Edited by chewie
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2 hours ago, F15Rules said:

We have one of the most variable climates on earth, and loads of micro climates locally. It's always been the same for all of my life.

I've learned long ago that, apart from rare spells of UK wide settled weather, it's literally a waste of time to do anything other than use Mark I eyeballs to check for yourself what's happening in your personal observing location.

Modern technology has many benefits, but I don't think predicting accurately and dependably clear or cloudy conditions at a very local level is one of them.

Dave

I agree with the first part of what Dave says but not the second.  I think it's a case of most of us remembering more when the forecast is wrong than when it's right.  I certainly used to fall into this trap.

Some of you will know that I've been logging and reporting the accuracy of 6 of my short term local cloud forecasts (including Clear Outside) since the beginning of April.  I'd add that we have very much of a microclimate here.

There's been little difference between the accuracy of all 6, with the Met Office somewhat ahead.  However, there almost certainly isn't a statistically significant variation.

Below are the figures for Clear Outside over the last 230 nights - they might surprise many of you!

Correct 67%

Partly correct/partly wrong 29%

Totally wrong 4%

For further details and the methodology see this topic: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/376745-a-record-of-the-accuracy-of-my-local-cloud-forecasts/

Edited by Second Time Around
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Scope Nights looks interesting, but sadly appears to be Apple only and I use Android.

I'll shortly be adding a 7th forecast: Good to Stargaze.  This will be from January 1st so that I start from the beginning of a new year.

One other site I use for current and past night cloud photos is Zoom Earth.  This is very useful if for some reason I can't check the sky.  It often correctly shows that the only cloud in Kent is over our area, and that it's clear just a few miles away!

P.S. Another useful site is Meteoradar as it extrapolates cloud satellite pictures to give forecasts up to  3 hours ahead.   Unfortunately it does so only for daytime hours. It is though useful for soon after sunset, and also for solar observing.

Edited by Second Time Around
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On 07/11/2021 at 15:24, Ags said:

I just look out the window.

I think I've tried almost every weather app and site out there and they're maybe 60% accurate at best.  Looking out the window is my default method, but I do a little forecasting by looking at animated satellite pix.  If clouds or clearing are moving this way, they're likely not going to divert over a small time span.

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Here CO is telling me that it is clear but that cloud will spread and not clear again until around 11:00 pm. Unfortunately it seems accurate looking at the cloud that is approaching from the north. I say unfortunately because I'm helping at a society outreach observing event this evening. I actually hope that CO does prove incorrect tonight !

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16 hours ago, John said:

Here CO is telling me that it is clear but that cloud will spread and not clear again until around 11:00 pm. Unfortunately it seems accurate looking at the cloud that is approaching from the north. I say unfortunately because I'm helping at a society outreach observing event this evening. I actually hope that CO does prove incorrect tonight !

Last night CO was much too pessimistic. While there was some thin cloud about, it stayed generally clear so the outreach session worked well and I was even able to get some observing in when I got home :icon_biggrin:

 

 

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It was spot on here for the school session last night.

Met and BBC saying all clear, CO saying cloud on the way!

Brought the session forward a bit and managed to get in enough of a session to make it worthwhile before the clouds rolled in.

And as CO predicted, it cleared up after (too late for the children). :D

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On 23/11/2021 at 16:53, bingevader said:

It was spot on here for the school session last night.

Met and BBC saying all clear, CO saying cloud on the way!

Brought the session forward a bit and managed to get in enough of a session to make it worthwhile before the clouds rolled in.

And as CO predicted, it cleared up after (too late for the children). :D

For the first time in ages, Clear Outside was spot on last night but I ignored the readings because my other two apps both said clear until 5am! I went outside at midnight to set up for an Orion astrophotography attempt and was met with a blanket of cloud as far as the eye could see, as forecast by CO. 🙄

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The Met Office have most invested in UK conditions but don't provide a specific astro forecast ?, eg with cloud at different levels. Their rain radar is brilliant for knowing when I will get wet on the golf course ! Often the forecast is about right but the timing can be out.

For a look ahead in the week I like Metcheck, despite clunky interface, and it is maybe better than CO, must depend on the weather models they use. I'll try some alternatives mentioned above. The solution is to move to a continental climate!

Scope Nights looks promising, but I am an Apple free bod. 

Edited by Stephenstargazer
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