Astrospheric FAQs

Astrospheric provides advanced weather forecasting for astronomers in the continental US and Canada. Here are the most frequently asked questions by the community

Can I send in feedback?
Yes, please use the feedback form to get in touch. I don’t respond to all feedback, but I do read it.

Where does Astrospheric get its data from?
The bulk of the data shown on Astrospheric comes from the Canadian Meteorological Center (CMC). Other data sources include the GFS model as well as the experimental RAP model which provide values such as Smoke and Aerosol optical depth. The Seeing model is pulled from Allan Rahill’s model (which is based off of the CMCs model). I’m constantly investigating other weather models for interesting variables to help improve the overall forecast on Astrospheric.

How is Astrospheric different from Atilla Danko’s “Clear Sky Charts” service?
I get this question often. Users tend to think that because the primary data source is the same between Clear Sky Charts and Astrospheric that they give the same results, which isn’t accurate. Here are a few big differences. There are many other functional differences between the services. Clear Sky Chart is obviously still a valuable resource and some users may prefer it given Astrospheric's higher system and bandwidth requirements.

Are there plans to make Astrospheric work outside of the continental US and Canada?
Not at this time. Processing worldwide data to build accurate astronomy variables is prohibitively expensive at this point, nor could I support that many users.

What other weather data sources are valuable to astronomers?
There are thousands of weather apps and websites available, but it can be tough to know if they will work well for astronomy. Here are a few tips that can help in picking them out. Weather.gov is a great resource for those in the USA since it gets you access to the primary US weather models (GFS, NAM, HRRR, etc). If you’re feeling adventurous, you can access raw model data at https://nomads.ncep.noaa.gov/

Should I send feedback when the weather report is wrong?
Short answer - no. Every 6 hours the Candian RDPS model generate well over 200 million predictions for an area covering most of North America. It will be wrong at times. The model is constantly ingesting new data from thousands of automated sources in order to correct and generate the next set of predictions. Observations from individuals are not incorporated into the model and therefore are not that valuable. However, if you notice something completely out of the ordinary (eg. a dew point of absolute zero), then it's worth letting me know, because an error may have occured in my code which parses the data.

Why doesn’t Astrospheric work on my (insert Android device)
I like Android and use it on my daily phone, but it’s a bit of a mess to develop for, especially if you’re a one person development outfit. Technically I’ve targeted the build to work on Android 5.0 and higher, but given the thousands of Android devices on the market it’s not possible to test all of them. If you find an issue please contact me. If you’re on a Google supported version of Android (8.0 and higher) as well as a device from Google or Samsung, then there is a good chance I can get the issue fixed.

Why is the time shown in Astrospheric wrong?
Astrospheric shows the local time for the current forecast location. This includes any adjustments for timezone as well as daylight savings time. If you notice that the time is an hour off, please first check that your device's operating system timezone is set correctly. If it is set correctly, then please contact me

Can I embed Astrospheric on my website?
Most likely. Check out www.astrospheric.com/embed for more information and the rules for using it.

Who built Astrospheric?
My name is Daniel Fiordalis and I’ve been an amature astronomer ever since my dad introduced me to the hobby as a kid in Kalamazoo Michigan. In college I studied computer science and physics. I currently work for a software company in the Pacific Northwest during the day and code up Astrospheric in the evenings.

At first, Astrospheric was a small bit of code I was using personally to create dynamic astronomy forecasts for a trip I was planning. But, after getting in touch with Allan Rahill from the CMC I became extremely interested in solving some of the complex problems in generating visuals and searching through huge amounts of data.

How can I support Astrospheric?

Is there a French version of Astrospheric?
Not yet, but I’m working on it! My goal is to have a French version by the end of 2020.