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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am 
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Hi folks,

This is the thread to share your preferred tool for forecasting astronomical seeing.

The "Mark I Eyeball" may be the best tool for checking astronomical seeing but isn't of much use for forecasting. But browsing the Net this morning I came across APanel (Astroweather Panel) which appears to do the job with forecasts for seeing and transparency and, best of all, can be configured to use either locations from its own database or manually entered latitudes and longitudes. Here's a snapshot of what today's forecast for Queenstown (the home of CameraLabs) looks like:
    Image
For a real-time version (updated every six hours, I believe) click the above image or check out the Queenstown forecast where you can also see what the various legends actually mean.

To set up your own location you need to start at here but once you have a page running for your own location then you can bookmark the URL for instant access. Note that once your location is set up you still have to select the "ASTRO" tab.

What do you think? Whether it's accurate enough, within the limits of any forecast, I don't know yet. Or do you have a better tool... 8)

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Last edited by Bob Andersson on Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:56 pm 
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Very interesting tool! Have bookmarked it for my location so will have to compare in time to see how good it it.

Personally I just the BBC general weather forecast. It includes a comment for visibility. Most forecasts I wouldn't look beyond a day anyway as the accuracy just isn't there.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:40 pm 
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this is what I am using :

http://cleardarksky.com/csk/

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:26 pm 
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Hi folks,

The APanel links I gave previously have changed and that will also affect any shortcuts you may have set up. I've updated the opening post accordingly.

I think the new graphics are an overall improvement. As for the accuracy of the forecast, I've been pretty impressed over the last months. Here in the UK our weather is notoriously variable and APanel has been as good as the UK Met Office forecasts in general terms with the added bonus of astronomically relevant information. Recommended. 8)

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:09 pm 
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Ive seen quite a few people on another forum who have this linked in their signature. A good chart, but I always struggle to read them - mental note to self, must try harder!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:05 am 
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Hmm, the APanel forecasts seem to have got very unreliable lately. Here's an option for the UK (currently set for Bristol but you can enter your own location) which at least corresponds to what I can see through the window as I type!
weatherweb.net also offers a service but the output is far less graphical. That said they do provide a satellite view as well as a synoptic chart.

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:24 am 
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Been comparing 7timer, Meteoblue and Weathernet recently. Of the three, meteoblue is wildly optimistic, giving indications of clear sky when no one else does. Wouldn't be so bad if they were right, but unfortunately that isn't the case. The other two are loosely consistent so I'll keep monitoring them.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:06 am 
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Hi popo,

Yep, Meteoblue caught me last night. Got all set up to show a friend the visual sights and not a break. The BBC/Met Office forecast was the most accurate but even that didn't forecast the rain we eventually had in the wee small hours. Although I have a weatherproof cover for the scope I'm glad I dismantled before I went to bed last night.

I think the trouble here in the UK is that the cell sizes the general forecasters use are too large to take account of the large regional variation we typically get. Aviation forecasts can be much better, though they obviously lack "seeing" forecasts, and if you use your local airport ICAO code (you can search here) then you can gain access to aviation forecasts from sites such as this one. "TAF" is what you want (terminal area forecast) and they even provide an option to "translate" into a more friendly output although it still helps to engage the brain and try and interpret what you are being offered.

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:53 am 
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meteoblue was pessimistic - what a night! 45 x 200 second subs (+ 2 x 200 second subs spoilt by aircraft), split equally between red, green and blue exposures of the Soul nebula, the Double Cluster and the Pleiades plus a bonus 1000 second blue sub of the Pleiades completing the set of five that I started a few nights ago. I've actually run out of targets tonight. :oops: But at least I'll get an extra bit of sleep! 8)

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:17 am 
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You can't run out of targets. Get more subs!!! Ooh, is Orion up yet that late?

All the forecasts agreed last night. Clear skies.

I didn't stay up too late packing up about half past midnight, but I grabbed a bunch of extra data of the Veil in Ha and SII which I really should start the stacking of. I didn't get as much as the OIII previously, will see if I have "enough" or if I might want to go back again for more data next time. When I'm done on that I want to make a start on Andromeda and Pleiades too. They're better positioned a bit later in the year as they're currently over a shopping centre complex. That means lots of broad spectrum light pollution :( I wonder if they might be too difficult for me to get a really decent shot of, since they're primarily broad spectrum targets. I guess I could have a go at the bubble again...

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:49 am 
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Hi popo,

Yep, Orion is now above my local horizon by about 4 a.m. but I think that target will offer me a better opportunity in a month's time. I've left the mounting/scope in place under its TeleGizmos cover as Friday night is still possible, just, so far as the forecast is concerned.

But I've got a mass of data to play with over the coming weeks as I have 8 x 1,000 second Hα subs of both the Heart and Soul nebulae as well as matching RGB subs and the subs I mentioned for both the Double Cluster and the Pleiades. I've previously processed the Heart data but I'll likely reprocess in parallel with the new Soul data to achieve a matching look and feel for the pair. The Double Cluster will be a new processing challenge as it lacks the visual punch of the M13 globular cluster and hasn't got any wispy bits. The 5 x 1,000 second blue Pleiades are showing up the reflection nebulosity really nicely so the challenge there will be to use the 200 second blue data to fill in the blown areas and then to combine both the stars and the nebulosity in a pleasing way. So lots to do even without more subs... :twisted:

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:59 pm 
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Mass of data is an issue here too, but it doesn't stop me adding to it. On top of the Veil nebula I'm about to post, I've also got a mosaic of the sun from today to start on, and a trip to Whipsnade earlier this week I need to look at again...

How's that cover working for you? I'm wondering if I should go for the fixed pier thing sooner rather than later, but that implies I should leave the mount outside once aligned but I'm not ready for an observatory yet...

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:58 pm 
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Hi popo,

The cover works really well but I can fasten it tightly to the pier with a strap (not supplied - the cover has an elastic drawstring which I don't find awfully useful). Obviously with a tripod you'd have more difficulty fastening it and the legs would remain exposed. That said, with care you might be able to avoid polar realignment after the first evening if you expect several consecutive nights of clear weather and it is very convenient knowing that the scope is protected from unforecast light showers, such as we had here a couple of nights ago. :evil:

Bob.

P.S. I like your Veil shots in the other thread. Great work with a DSLR! 8)

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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