Pluto imaged by New Horizons on approach
Image credit: NASA
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has flown by Pluto and its moons and sent back preliminary images. However, the best is yet to come as even higher resolution data and images will now be radioed back to Earth. Here are four great iOS apps to help you keep up with the news and technical details.
The first iOS app is Pluto Safari by Simulation Curriculum which was reviewed here back in June. It's free, and it's exceptionally good because it's from the same developers who brought us the amazing Sky Safari app.
Pluto Safari iOS app showing Pluto and its moons.
Pluto Safari will keep you up to date with all the latest news and images from NASA and the Johns Hopkins science team sent back by the New Horizons spacecraft. You can set the app to provide notifications when a new story is released.
The second app is the New Horizons (Pluto Mission) iOS app from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory itself. This is a excellent companion app that has menu items for news, the Twitter feed, science images, spacecraft images, and a tools page that provides information about the fly-by.
New Horizons Pluto Mission iOS app, tools page.
There are also two notable sky chart programs that will help you identify the location of Pluto in the sky and provide technical background on Pluto. One is, as memtioned above, Sky Safari (with three verions to chose from, including a free one), and the other is Sky Guide ($1.99). However, the direct observation of Pluto with a telescope requires one to be a fairly advanced amateur astronomer with at least a 12-inch (30 cm) telescope. The best way to follow the New Horizons mission is to enjoy the extreme close up images taken from only 7,800 miles away (12,500 km) by the spacecraft.
Sky Guide iOS app showing sky location and information.
In addition to these four iOS apps, snother great link is to go straight to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory page for Pluto in your web browser where you can see the timeline, what we currently know, and also see the latest images.
This has been an amazing 9 year, 3 billion mile (4.8 billion km) journey, and these apps will keep you completely up to date on this fantastic scientific exploration of the solar system's very remote dwarf planet.