I recently purchased a 3rd Generation 64 Gigabyte Apple iPod Touch. The original intent was to use it to listen to Music (MP3s), watch movies, and access the internet on the go.
Basically, an iPod Touch and most of the other “Smart Phones” are miniature computers. Most use a Flash Hard Drive for storage and have rechargeable lithium batteries.
Smart Phones, such as the Apple iPhone or the Motorola Droid can access the Internet via a 3G network, which works the same way as making a Cell Phone call, i.e., the internet data is sent and received via a cell phone signal to the nearest cell tower.
Other devices, such as the Ipod Touch are not cell phones, but can access the internet through a WIFI network connection, just like a desktop or a laptop computer in your home, a coffee shop or an airport.
Apple developed the iTunes Store website to sell music, movies and software to iPhone and iPod owners.
Apple and independent computer programmers write software applications (Apps) that will do about anything imaginable. These Apps are usually very cheap, not more that a couple of bucks, or free to download. If you can think of something that you want your Apple device to do, most likely, “There Is An App For That”, including Astronomy.
The following are a few Astronomy Apps that I have found in the Apple iTunes Store that are very useful and of very high quality:
Sky Voyager: This is a very good Planetarium program that very accurately shows the locations of Deep Sky Objects, planets, the moon, stars and constellations, very similar to “Stellarium” or other planetarium software programs for computers. This App will also show the brighter comets and asteroids and identify and plot passing artificial satellites.
Pocket Sat 3: This is a free App that will predict the passage, or identify artificial satellites as the pass overhead. The orbits are projected on a image of the constellations in the night sky in real time. This App will let you know when a Satellite such as the International Space Station will appear overhead up to a year in advance. How many times have you been out at night, and wondered what that bright, moving light was. This App will tell you.
Iridium Flares: This free App will predict when, where, and how bright Iridium Flares will occur.
Moon Globe: Very similar to “The Virtual Moon Globe”, this App will help you identify or locate lunar features with a “3D Photo Quality” map.
Mars Globe: Very similar to Moon Globe, this App is for Mars, based on NASA spacecraft photos, with a “3D Photo Quality” map.
NASA App: This App takes data from NASA's Internet Website via a WIFI Connection and gives you instant access to the latest NASA News, Photos and Videos.
These are just a few of the Astronomy Apps that are available at the Apple iTune Store. New ones are added from one day to the next.