Stellarium is a free software available for Linux/Unix, Windows and MacOSX. It renders 3D photo-realistic skies in real time. With stellarium, you really see what you can see with your eyes, binoculars or a small telescope.
This is excellent, free software with lots of features. I installed the Windows version and it works great: you set your location and it displays the stars with a time control that can be manipulated, allowing you to see star formations over time. Some of its features:
- Over 120000 stars from the Hipparcos Catalogue with name and infos for the brightest ones.
- Planets and major satellites in real time, with a powerful zoom mode to see them like in a telescope.
- Time control (real time and accelered time modes).
- Clickable stars, planets and nebulas with informations.
- Drawing of the 88 constellations with their names.
- Drawing of the 88 constellations mythological figures.
- Textured displaying of more than 70 nebulas (Orion, M31 etc..).
Although it’s nicer seeing the stars outside than staring at a computer.