Application news

Northern lights forecast: First update of the year 2020

Happy new year everyone 🎉 we wish the year 2020 will bring you more joy and happiness and more intense aurora forecast!

The year 2019 has been busy and exciting for us, and we now have around 7000 users on hello aurora! Thanks to all the aurora enthusiasts who keep using the app, and we hope soon we will be able to build a more inclusive network for aurora hunters.

[Update] We fixed a major issue with the custom location feature, GPS/Default coordinates, and the usage of the map. The app will be reset at the first launch to make sure data are good again. Sorry for that, and we hope you a good aurora hunting! Make sure to download the new version 1.0.83 for Android and 1.0.122 for iOS.

Christmas and new year are already finished, and it's time for us to focus again on providing new updates. In this one, we worked on popular user requests: custom location, new cloud coverage layers, and road conditions.

Custom locations

A lot of users request this feature, and it's finally here! Users can add other locations than their current and be able to see the forecast in this area.

So if you live in the USA and would love to see the northern lights forecast in Iceland or other Nordic countries, you can add a city of Iceland, Norway, etc..

You can add up to 6 locations in addition to the default one. Remember, if you don't add a custom location, it will use either GPS (somewhere in the USA for our example) or Reykjavík if you didn't give GPS permission.

The forecast on the main screen will show you the prediction of the location you have chosen. And to remove the added place, just simply swipe left on the location's name in settings, and it will be deleted.

This is a very good feature for those who would like to plan their northern lights trip and see how the forecast is in these places.

Users are now able to choose custom locations.

Low/middle clouds on the map.

The clouds coverage we had on the previous version was pretty basic and included all layers of clouds combined, low/middle/high clouds.

Low and middle clouds are our main obstacle when hunting the northern lights. You can still see the lights even when the high clouds are present. What you should focus more on is if the middle and low clouds are covering or not the place you are. So we decided to split the clouds layers into two groups, low/middle clouds, and high clouds. It will give you more ideas on where to find a clear sky to set up your camera.

You can see the cloud coverage on the map page and toggle out the one you don't need by pressing on the wheel/setting on the right side.

PS: the cloud coverage is only available over Iceland for now 🙁, but we are working on getting sources for the Nordic countries, so hang in there!

Able to toggle clouds' levels

Road conditions

Hunting Northern Lights is awesome, but stay safe is a priority. If you are travelling in Iceland during wintertime, very often that roads will be closed because of storms or blizzards, or are incredibly slippery because of snowfall or rain. In short, there is a lot of situation you will need to check the road conditions!

Even if we already have the weather alerts notification, having the road conditions is an extra level of alerts, and conditions are updated in real-time to see the latest status.

The different colours are detailed inside the map settings modal, but they are:

  • Green: easily passable 
  • Orange: spots of ice
  • Blue: slippery or extremely slippery 
  • Purple: Difficult driving or difficult condition
  • White: Snow
  • Red: impassable or closed
  • Gray: no winter services or unknown conditions.

This feature is not only useful in northern lights hunt, but it's useful when you are travelling in Iceland. So better to have a habit of checking the weather and road conditions before leaving your accommodation. It's better to know what to expect, and like people often say better to be safe than sorry!

PS: the road condition only exists in Iceland for now 🙁, but we are working on getting the sources for the Nordic countries as well, so it will arrive in a future update.

Road condition on the map

Highlighted countries

We have highlighted those countries that you are likely to see northern lights and blockage those where the aurora is likely invisible.

And the rest

On the less exciting news, we fixed bugs. Why bugs even exist, that's annoying. We are aware the app is sometimes crashing. Mainly because we are pushing constantly fixes live in continuous. Even though sometimes they are not fixes, but bugs, which cause these issues. We are working as fast as possible to fix them in these cases.

About the next updates, we are working on very exciting things, and we will add brand new sources to get a better aurora forecast for Iceland and all Nordics countries. It gives us a lot of work, but you will definitely like it!

Don't wait for more, and download the new version on the App Store and the Play Store. Remember it's excited to hunt the northern lights, but it's also always good to be safe 🙌🏻.

hello aurora is free, so don’t waste more time and start downloading it now.