Sponsored by NASA's Heliophysics Division, the Interplanetary 3D Sun is a tool for serious solar physicists and lay people alike. The app displays animated extreme ultraviolet images of the sun in near-real time. You can watch solar flares, "solar tsunamis," and other eruptions unfold moments after they happen. The data come from a fleet of NASA spacecraft surrounding the sun: the twin STEREO probes and the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The app is "interplanetary" because it allows you to view explosions from key points around the solar system. Was the latest flare Mars-directed? Did it hit Mercury or Venus? With the animated Interplanetary 3D Sun, it's easy to find out.
Like its predecessor, the "3D Sun Classic
," the Interplanetary 3D Sun alerts you to solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and geomagnetic storms. When the sun explodes, your phone rings! Many users say this alert feature is their favorite part of the app.
The Interplanetary 3D Sun requires amounts of video RAM and CPU power available only in newer iPhones and iPads. iPod users may find that the app doesn't run on their devices. The 3D Sun Classic
is still available for people with older, less capable hardware.