I really love to find cool, free apps, and I have a good one for you. 3D Sun, developed in collaboration with NASA scientists, will alert you to solar flares and storms which can disrupt communications on earth and trigger spectacular northern lights.
Activating the push feature provides instant notification of major solar activity.. Clicking on the app will give you detailed information, as well as a current picture of the surface of the sun provided by the NASA 'Stereo' satellites. You can rotate the view of the sun with your fingers, and pinch in and out to zoom. The 2 satellites don't have a 360 degree view, so there will be a dark sliver where the cameras can't see. Using this app is a lot safer than trying to see these phenomena with the naked eye or even using some of the not-so-safe solar filters that are around.
In addition to the 'live' view of the sun, you can view recent pictures of the sun in different bands of the spectrum, and you'll get a look at the rather fascinating magnetic field lines that are above the surface of our friendly orb.
The app also features a collection of stills and movies showing solar events and events triggered by the sun.
The app is just out, so grab it if you are interested. I'd also remind our scientifically prone readers of the terrific NASA app that Steve Sande reviewed in October. 3D Sun has scads of images, videos, launch information and more, and it's another freebie.
These apps run on the iPhone and the iPod touch.
I think you should go for launch on both of these. A-OK?
Check the gallery for more screen shots: