Scope Nights requires a working Internet connection to download weather data. You can either let the app find your current location or choose another location anywhere in the world using the search screen. The Scope Nights screen shows forecast for each night’s stargazing conditions using a simple traffic light system.
Green = Good weather conditions for stargazing.
Amber = Fair weather conditions for stargazing.
Red = Poor weather conditions for stargazing.
The predominant weather for each night is also shown along with the minimum temperature, sunrise, sunset, moon phase and a summary bar of detailed ratings through the night. This allows you to get a quick overview of the conditions through the night. For example, the predominant weather for the night may show rain showers or thunderstorms, but there may also be a clear period as well. So the weather icon will show the predominate weather and the summary bar will tell you if there are any clear periods.
If you select any summary forecast it will then show you detailed stargazing ratings for each period and a detailed breakdown of actual weather forecast data obtained from the weather service, including a weather graphic and description, temperature, cloud cover, precipitation probability, humidity, wind speed, direction and any significant gusts. Temperatures in the nightly summary forecasts shows the minimum temperature for each night, and temperatures in the detail forecasts shows the actual temperature forecast for the start of each period.
Forecasts will be automatically updated when the app is opened, but they can also be updated manually using the reload button at the top left of the Scope Nights screen. If you already have the latest forecast it will not be updated for at least 30 minutes as national forecasts are normally updated every hour, and global forecasts every 12 hours. The number of nightly summary forecasts may vary due to the varying amount of forecast data supplied by weather services for different geographic locations and at different times of the day or night. This is beyond the control of Scope Nights and is something that varies depending on which weather service provider is being used.
The chaotic nature of weather systems means stargazing conditions are impossible to predict with 100% accuracy, therefore no weather forecast is totally accurate. Any inaccuracy in the Scope Nights forecast is largely due the weather forecast data itself. Short-range forecasts up to 3 nights are the most accurate and then become less accurate for each night into the future. So you need to bear this in mind when planning ahead. Medium-range forecasts from 3 to 10 nights can provide an idea of what’s in store for the week ahead, and short-range forecasts up to 3 nights are better for planning observing sessions as they are more accurate.
You can retrieve your local forecast using the locate button at the top right of the Scope Nights screen. Scope Nights makes use of your device’s Location Services to automatically find your location using GPS, Cell Tower Triangulation & Wifi Hotspots. Your latitude and longitude are then sent to the weather service to acquire the forecast for those coordinates. If you don’t have Location Services switched on Scope Nights will fail to automatically find your current location, but you can still use the location search feature to manually search for any place name worldwide, including your own location.
Any other worldwide location can be found using the location search screen. Enter a place name followed by a country name or country abbreviation to see a list of matching places. If you don’t enter a country name or abbreviation all matching place names worldwide will be displayed. Then choose a location from your search results or from the list of dark sky sites to get the latest forecast for that location. The selected forecast location is automatically saved, so when you re-open the app it will try and update the stargazing forecast for the last used location.
If you find Scope Nights useful and would like to see continued support and development, please leave a good rating on the app store.