About Outside, Looking Up
Easily check stargazing conditions for any point on the planet, at any time
Outside, Looking Up is for:
Tips for stargazing
Here's what to look for to get the best view of the night sky, using Outside, Looking Up (OLU):
- Darkness: Although stars will start to appear soon after sunset, the night sky looks best once the sun has moved at least 18 degrees below the horizon, which is the end of 'astronomical twilight'. OLU displays these times once you choose a location.
- Moon: Strong moonlight will make the stars and planets harder to see in the night sky. Ideally, plan to go out when the moon is below the horizon, or look for a night when it's not illuminated so strongly (avoid days close to the full moon). OLU shows you the current moon illumination, calculated for 10pm each day, along with times for moon rise and set.
- Weather: It's hard to see stars when there are clouds! OLU gives you detailed forecasts for the next 48 hours cloud cover, along with general weather forecasts for the current week. Other factors that might affect your plans are rain, temperature and visibility forecasts.
- Aurora: If you live in the high or low latitudes it's worth keeping an eye out for strong aurora forecasts. Check the aurora page for details on how to view the polar lights.
- Light pollution: Light given off by large cities affects your view of the night sky. This site is a great tool for finding a dark area for stargazing.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your question isn't answered below, please ask us here
How do I get started?
To get started just visit the home page and choose the location that you want to view stargazing data for.
You'll then have access to the latest info on weather, sun and moon positions, and aurora activity for that location. If you create a free account you can also save favorite locations and setup email alerts when conditions are going to be good.
Why do you need my location?
We can't display data for a location without it!
But if you feel uncomfortable letting your browser/device set the location automatically, you can always just set a location manually.
How is my data stored/secured?
Outside, Looking Up only stores the minimum data needed to make sure the site works as expected for you.
Your email and password is encrypted and sent to our server using SSL encryption. You can change your personal details on the account page, or if you'd like to delete your account entirely just send us an email (email@example.com) from the email address that you use to login.
How do I set up alerts?
To set up alerts you need to register for a free account.
After that just visit the alerts page to choose what type of alerts you'd like to get and how often they should be sent. At this stage only email alerts are available.
This site is not working properly for me
Outside, Looking Up relies on modern web browsers to work properly.
Currently supported browsers include the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, and Internet Explorer.
Consider upgrading your browser, or if you need any help please get in touch.
References & creditsReferences/creditsThanks to the awesome code libraries and services below for making this site possible:
- SunCalc PHP library
- MoonPhase PHP library
- Open Notify (International Space Station Data)
- Dark Sky
- Google Maps API and Timezone API
- PHP Mailer