There are many new astronomy apps coming out each month and Awesome Astronomy will continue to add any worthy of mention.
Here are the best and most useful iPhone apps currently available for amateur astronomers:
Every astronomer needs a night sky app and I reckon Sky Safari 3 is about the best of those available.
This app costs $2.99 but contains the main star and deep sky catalogues, solar system objects and a handy system of finding objects that tonight's sky is favourable for.
The red screen is handy for preserving your dark-adapted vision, the telescope control allows you to work a goto mount using your iPhone, while the ability to move forwards and backwards in time means you can plot your observing in advance.
Get the latest news about discoveries and confirmations of extra-solar planets and browse the trove of concise and elegantly compiled information on each and every confirmed discovery, along with star charts to allow you to 'exogaze' with a scope.
You can also set it to notify you of every new discovery as soon as they happen.
If you're observing the moon, the Moonglobe app will allow you to explore the craters, rilles and seas on the lunar surface along with their names and a link to wikipedia so, if you find yourself observing a feature that you're not familiar with, a simple scan of this app will help you get better acquainted.
Alternatively, you can search for specific crater in the menu option to help you find it at the scope.
The high resolution imagery in terrain mode (which labels the features) and spacecraft mode makes this is a very fine astronomy addition.
The Sputnik app allows you to input your current location (done automatically from the PS on your iPhone or iPod Touch) and then receive information about overhead passes of the International Space Station and Iridium satellites
You can plan to observe any passes by using the 'Next 24 Hours' or 'Next 7 Days' menus, which list all the upcoming passes, find out how bright they will appear, where to look, and request a notification when they're due.
Not astronomical by design but possibly the most crucial app an amateur astronomer could need.
From perhaps the most reliable meteorology centre in the UK, you can now monitor the (constantly changing) weather before your observing session to better inform you as to the evening's conditions.
And when that bank of clouds comes rolling in as soon as you've got set up, this will better inform you whether you should pack up again or sit it out.
Useful for monitoring :
- Solar views in various wavelengths
- Solar wind activity
- Auroral activity and imagery
If you're observing the sun, this NASA app will allow you to see and label the current sunspots and solar flares - and you can monitor auroral activity too.
While this app has much more to offer orienteering enthusiasts, GPS Lite has a crucial function for astronomers who observe in various locations using a GoTo mount.
An equatorial Goto mount will require a GPS location and this app will give you a very accurate fix wherever you are.
You can choose the format of your GPS location (decimal or hours & minutes) to suit your mount.