Jan 9

How Scope Nights Works

Scope Nights is a unique astronomy weather app that uses a combination of national and global weather forecasts to compile detailed stargazing weather ratings up to 10 nights ahead for anywhere in the world. Many weather apps are unwieldy, over complicated and very generalised. Scope Nights was designed to be intuitive, quick, and easy, focusing on night-time astronomy conditions. Existing astronomy weather apps were also found to be hard to read and hard to quickly see which nights are the best. The Scope Nights interface was therefore designed to be intuitive showing nightly stargazing summaries at a glance using simple ratings and realistic weather icons, yet also customisable so the forecast can be tailored to meet observing requirements of dedicated astronomers.

Scope Nights uses your internet connection to download weather forecasts from public domain data services. This data is then analysed and compiled into stargazing ratings for 3-hourly and 6-hourly forecast periods and nightly summaries are created using weighted algorithms. 10-night global forecasts are acquired for any location worldwide and 5 to 7 night national forecasts are also overlaid for UK & USA locations to make the forecast even more accurate. Global forecasts are a little less accurate than national forecasts but are still extremely useful as the data derives from the European numerical forecast model which is renowned worldwide as providing the most accurate medium-range global weather forecasts. This enables Scope Nights to be used anywhere in the world. As the app matures more accurate national forecasts will be added for other countries where government weather data is available.

Stargazing ratings for 3-hourly and 6-hourly periods are derived from the weather type, cloud cover, precipitation probability, moon phase, wind, humidity, temperature and the settings thresholds. Stargazing ratings for the nightly summaries are calculated from the detailed ratings using a weighted algorithm. If the sky is clear and the rating is Fair or Poor it will probably be because a wind, humidity or temperature threshold has been reached. You can adjust these thresholds in the settings.

Scope Nights is not designed to update your location automatically if you move as it’s not a navigation app and it would use too much battery.  But it should find your location when you touch the locate button.  Scope Nights makes use of the Apple Core Location API which uses several mechanisms to find your location… GPS, Cell Tower Triangulation & Wifi Hotspots.  GPS accuracy varies depending on the number of visible GPS satellites, and locating all visible satellites can take several minutes, with accuracy gradually increasing over time.

Scope Nights relies on third party services that disseminate weather and geographic data. It is also reliant on the Internet to transfer the data to your device. If the data is missing or corrupt or the data server is unavailable then the app will not be able to show the latest forecast.

Scope Nights was initially designed to appeal to amateur and novice astronomers and the interface is designed to be quick and easy to use. If the app proves successful then more professional features will be added as the app matures.

Egg Moon Studio is an independent developer and relies on recommendations. If you find Scope Nights useful and would like to see continued support and development, please leave a good rating on the app store.