To prepare for observing at the observatory it is vital to check the weather forecast for Nottingham. This can be best done via either the BBC web site or using the Met Office web pages. Usually three day forecasts can indicate useful nights. But be aware that possible clear nights should be confirmed on the day of observing. To check for incoming clouds or gaps in the cloud cover monitoring visible and IR satellite images can be very useful.
Visibility of the objects of interest can be checked using the STARALT tool from the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes. For certain transient objects it might be of relevance to check using either Exoplanet Transit Database or the Minor Planet Centre.
To have an initial idea of what the field of view for your chosen optical telescope and instrument set-up will look like, the SkyView web site offers a very useful resource.