Five awesome iOS apps for space and astronomy fans


Intel invited me to contribute a post to their "My Life Scoop" site, and I decided to do a roundup of astronomy-related apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. I really and truly do dig these apps: I use them to check on solar storms, to learn about exoplanets, to figure out when I can view the Space Station flying by overhead, and to help me and my family navigate our way through the night sky on star-watching nights.

I first learned to love the stars through my grandfather, an amateur astronomer born in 1903 who fashioned telescope lenses from glass and aluminum scavenged in Pittsburgh factory trash-heaps. My "pop-pop" imparted his knowledge of astronomy, and the tools of astronomy, without the aid of any digital devices, but I like to imagine that if he were around today, he'd really enjoy the wide variety of mobile applications for amateur astronomers, and star-curious kids like I was back then.

(Special thanks to Maggie Koerth-Baker and Miles O'Brien for turning me on to some of these apps!)