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Don't you just hate it when you rush outside to go someplace, leaving your lead-lined umbrella behind, and are caught totally by surprise in a crackling magnetic storm of charged particles? Happens to everyone.
But it doesn't need to: With NASA's 3D Sun App, you'll never miss another sun flare or solar storm again.
The program sucks up data from NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft that keep the sun under a constant watch, front and back. The app, which is free, chirps when it has new alerts on solar activity. (They're written by a Ph.D. trained astrophysicist.) You can open it up and spin the sun around with your finger, zooming in to scrutinize objects like the Tree of Avatar, a "complex pillar of plasma in the sun's atmosphere," according to NASA. "Watch it explode!" the space agency advises.
3D Sun also churns out movies and galleries of huge solar explosions and recent aurora borealis light shows. Why look at the real sun when you have an interactive one in your pocket? Grab this now!
JHelioviewer is new visualization software that enables everyone, anywhere to explore the Sun. Developed as part of the ESA/NASA Helioviewer Project, it provides a desktop program that enables users to call up images of the Sun from the past 15 years. More than a million images from SOHO can already be accessed, and new images from NASA™ Solar Dynamics Observatory are being added every day.