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Scope Nights: New Stargazing Weather Forecast App

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#1 MRD

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 12:05 PM

Hi,

I'm an amateur astronomer & software developer and have just written my first app called "Scope Nights". It's a dedicated 5-night stargazing weather forecast for U.S.A and U.K. that runs on iPhone, iPod touch & iPad via Wi-Fi, 4G, 3G or 2G networks.

Here's the app website:
http://www.eggmoonst...com/scopenights

And here's the App Store download:
http://itunes.apple....20977?ls=1&mt=8

There's a few promo codes available for those who are willing to test it and provide constructive feedback and an app store review.

It's a fairly basic app at the moment, but I'm looking to add more features, hence the need for feedback from fellow astronomers.

Hope you find the app useful.

Best Regards,
Martin

Scope Nights:

Find a Night & Use it Right... Use your telescope or binoculars wisely and find the clearest nights first. A really handy weather app for planning observing sessions or star parties up to five nights ahead!

Scope Nights provides a quick and easy night time weather forecast for telescope and binocular owners. Accurate weather data is gathered direct from national weather sources and weather conditions essential to stargazing such as cloud, wind and rain are analysed and rated to show which nights will have the best stargazing conditions.

Scope Nights currently provides weather for the United States and the United Kingdom using public domain data services. United Kingdom data contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government License. Scope Nights currently provides stargazing weather forecasts, not astronomical seeing conditions caused by atmospheric turbulence or light pollution.

Scope Nights is an indispensable tool for astronomers and a welcome relief from sieving through conventional weather apps for clear skies. It's designed to be quick and easy to use whether at home or at an observing site, and more features will be added in future updates, so it's going to get even better.

Features:

Stargazing Weather Rating
- Shows which nights are best suited to stargazing using a simple red, amber, green activity rating system

Accurate Weather Forecasts
- Weather forecasts direct from national weather services updated every hour

Smart Weather Analysis
- Automatically gets weather forecast for your current location
- Filters weather data for forecasts during hours of darkness
- Analyses weather type, cloud cover and wind strength and creates stargazing conditions rating

Location Search
- Find stargazing weather forecasts for any other national location

Detailed Weather Conditions
- Nightly summary and detail views
- Sunrise and sunset times
- Overnight humidity
- Overnight minimum temperature in celsius or fahrenheit
- Overnight wind speed and direction in mph or knots

Simple Design
- Summary screen shows in one glance which nights are best for stargazing
- Stargazing weather ratings makes it simple to see the best nights
- Realistic animated weather graphics

Requirements
- Requires a device with iOS 5.0 or later
- Downloading weather data requires Internet access over a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection

Attached Files



#2 crazyqban

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 02:38 PM

Sounds good, I can be a guniea pig and test it.

#3 crazyqban

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 02:40 PM

Just purchased it, looks good. I will let you know what I think and how accurate it is in a few days.

#4 MRD

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 03:02 PM

Brilliant! Many thanks.

#5 deepskytraveler

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 09:48 PM

PM sent

#6 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:38 AM

I've downloaded it and will be happy to 'beta' test it and provide an app store review.

#7 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:19 AM

Simple Design
- Realistic animated weather graphics


Ummm. What animated weather graphics?

#8 MRD

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:22 AM

You'll need some weather before the animations are visible. Clear, cloudy, mist/fog can't be easily animated as there's not a lot visible, especially at night. I guess it could display a shooting star on clear nights, but that's not weather. Maybe the next version.

#9 Wes James

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:46 AM

Android...Android...Android.....
Any chance??? *s*

#10 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:47 AM

Ahh... This would be the little picture to the right of the colored 'status' box? I thought you could click on something to take you to animated radar like on www.weather.com. Never mind...

#11 MRD

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:03 PM

Yes I'd like to do an Android version at some point as I'm using the Monotouch Framework to develop cross-platform, but I'd also like do a retina display iPad version, so it could be a while yet.

#12 MRD

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:15 PM

Yes they are animated weather icons. I'll re-word the description to say "icons" instead of "graphics" to avoid further confusion. Good idea about linking to weather radar, will add it to the wish list.

As it's my first app it's fairly basic, so I'm sure there's lots of features that could be added. I couldn't find many other dedicated 5 night stargazing weather forecast apps for iPhone, so I do plan to add more features in future updates to make it more useful. Depends how popular it becomes.

#13 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:28 PM

Silly me. The stars are twinkling.

Is the moon phase accurate? It's at least close to the current phase. I know there are 'Moon Phase' apps out there (I already have one), but COULD it be accurate? If no place on the main screen, perhaps the phase (and elevation, if >0*) could be on the 'time by time' details screen?

#14 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:31 PM

Minor bug: if there is no current internet connection, can you display the last set of weather data? Granted it won't be CURRENT, but it's better than the blank display you get without live data.

I got a blank screen when I powered it up in my office. It occurred to me that could be annoying if I powered it up at a really remote site with no wireless connectivity.

#15 MRD

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:53 PM

No the moon phase is not shown. Yes there are various ways to show the moon phase, but it's effect on ratings would need to be configurable as some people may see the moon as favourable and some might not, depending on what you're observing. Will make a note for when I get round to it, many thanks.

Also, air turbulence is not taken into account for the night ratings yet, but it's also something that could be added in future as the app matures.

#16 MRD

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:59 PM

Good point. Thanks, will look into that one and try and address it in next update if it's not a major code change. I'm also aware the connection timeout needs lengthening to cope better with very slow networks. So that's on my list too.

#17 PGW Steve

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:39 PM

Nothing for one of the colonies? We have the Queen on our money for Pete sakes!:-P

#18 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:41 PM

Nothing for one of the colonies? We have the Queen on our money for Pete sakes!:-P


I would imagine it has something to do with how easy it is to extract the data from 'public domain data sources'.

#19 MRD

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 04:29 PM

Sorry, it's just UK and USA at the moment due to limited development resources, ie. just me! But I do plan to make it global if I can find a free and reliable public domain weather API that provides detailed enough weather forecasts globally. Otherwise, I'll only be able to add countries who's weather services supply detailed enough public domain weather data. If that's the case then Canada will be one of the first I look at adding next for sure.

#20 budman1961

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 05:29 PM

The app works fine here is the USA!

Andy

#21 leartech

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:06 PM

We need a Droid AND a PC Desktop version!!

#22 Benjamin B

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:43 PM

Why not make an Android version first? There are more Android mobile phones than Iphones.

#23 obin robinson

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 07:47 PM

Martin,

I have had this app for a few months now and have been quite disappointed in it. The predictions are not just slightly off for my location: they are completely inaccurate. Just for example tonight Scope Nights shows rain at my location but the sky is 90% clear and only a few clouds are in the sky. Last week it called for thunderstorms for 7 days straight. We had one day of thunderstorms and it rained the next day. How is Scope Nights computing this weather report which doesn't even match up with the predictions from 5 other weather services?

obin :confused:

#24 fetoma

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:24 PM

I am also quite disappointed at the inaccuracy of this app too! :thumbsdown:

#25 budman1961

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:43 PM

I have been very happy with the app......although not perfect, it seems to be pretty close for me.






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