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What's the best weather site to plan for observing?

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#1 Scanning4Comets


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Posted 13 August 2014 - 06:50 PM

A bunch of us always get together on Thursday nights to observe. Sometimes we will make it a Friday or a Saturday, weather permitting of course.


Well, Myself and the rest of the guys will frequent a few weather sites, but I am noticing lately that they are always different in their predictions on all of the weather sites, and a lot of the time we go out there and get clouded out !!!


Last two times we went, we just sat around and talked, which was a huge bummer !!!


Does anybody out there know which weather site is the best to follow so we can get out there and not get clouded out?


What I normally do is follow High Pressure Cells, to see if they are nearby, which usually means clear skies, but that cell needs to be a strong one and other Low Pressure Cells near it could make the skies bad.


-Clouded out in Canada. :bawling: :lol:

Edited by Scanning4Comets, 13 August 2014 - 06:51 PM.

#2 StarBlaster



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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:39 PM

I've been using http://cleardarksky.com/csk/ and like it a lot. Lots of information that is all very relevant to viewing conditions.

#3 lsfinn


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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:57 PM

In addition to the the clear sky charts at ClearDarkSky.Com there is also 7timer (yeah digit 7): <>. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can also get the ScopeNights app. I use all three. 

#4 csrlice12



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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:08 PM

Well, around here, the best weather's been during the daytime, so if you're up for solar viewing, it's not been so bad.  The only clear nights around here have been during the full moon......

#5 havasman


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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:08 PM

I pretty much go old school and use the NOAA site. There's a whole lot of useful info you get to interpret yourself.

'course back in the day we used to call old school: school.

#6 17.5Dob



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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:27 PM

Deja vu !! I just answered the same question a hour ago in the beginners forum.


"ClearSky has always been hit or miss for me. Some nights, when the official NOAA point forecast calls for perfectly clear skies, ClearSky predicted clouds and was right. Just as often it's been vice versa. Meteorology is still a pretty inexact "science", no matter how many "Super Computers" are crunching the models."



I use NOAA point forecast, ClearSky, my own eyes and never make "plans" until 1-2 hrs before sunset.

#7 Starman1


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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:38 AM

weather.com (the Weather Chaneel) is pretty good.  B+

Accuweather stargazing is pretty wrong most of the time  D-

ClearSkyCharts are accurate east of CA.  Here they're often wrong.  B- here, A- in the east.

The GOES satellite images (IR, visible, Water Vapor) are good, but only for a few hours out.  B-

Intellicast Sky Watch is better for 8-12 hours out.  B+

MeteoBlue is often too pessimistic, but has often saved me.  B

Skippy Sky is a little too low resolution and right only about 50% of the time  C+

Univ.of Michigan weather site is often dead on B+

WeatherBug.com is good for about 6 hours out.  After that, accuracy suffers  B

Weather Underground is as reliable as weather.com  B+

National Weather Service (weather.gov) is OK out about 6 hours, then goes downhill.  B

And, fortunately for us out here, there are innumerable web cams near our remote sites so we can see the sky before driving 3 or 4 hours to get there.

#8 AlBoning


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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:06 PM

The National Weather Service provides a service I have made frequent use of in that it will give a forecast for a location specified right down to minutes of lat and long.

For example this is the link to the Point Forecast for my home ...





In addition, the Point Forecast includes an Hourly Weather Graph which gives the forecast conditions including temperature, humidity, wind speed, cloud cover, etc by the hour for the next 48 hours.  So you get have an idea of what the wind will be like or how fast the temperature is dropping for any hour of the night. Here is the link for the Hourly Weather Graph related to the Point Forecast for my home ...





I also have created and saved the links to Point Forecasts for other locations that I observe at frequently.

Those, combined with the nearest Clear Sky Chart have served me well.


If you load up the first link above you will see in the upper left hand corner where you enter the desired location.  Click on "Location Help" for more information.

#9 davidmcgo



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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:29 PM

Wunderground actually seems pretty good for the San Diego areas.  NWS is more hit and miss, they under predict dew and humidity for our club site and are always predicting chigh winds which actually die out after dark most times.



#10 Jim T

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 10:30 PM

I use a combination of CSC, NOAA, and satellite (visual, else IR).


NOAA:  http://forecast.weat...x=1&AheadHour=0


Satellite:  http://weather.unisy...&t=l3&region=cp


Some historic logic needs to be applied, such as summer cirrus will likely "burn off" after sunset, but not winter cirrus.   I love the NOAA site for predicting dew, and for longer-term forecasts (past CSC).  Nothing like the satellite for the hour or two before launch.


As far as seeing, in additon to CSC, I use the CONUS water vapor site:  http://www.goes.noaa...LOOPS/ecwv.html.  This is supplemental to the Unisys satellite website, as an otherwise clear sky might contain a lot of moisture.

#11 LivingNDixie


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Posted 20 August 2014 - 10:47 AM

I see you are in Canada so NOAA probably isn't going to be a great source :lol:


I like the Clear Sky Clock site. I have the Scope Nights App for iPhone . It was nice until the S&T article said how great it was and the developer jacked the app of most features and basically wants people to pay again for "upgrades." I still have it on my phone but it is pretty much worthless now.


I like Weather Bug and The Weather Channel apps. For radar for rain, StormScope is hands down the best. Storm chasers use it as do most professional meteorologists.

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