For the burgeoning novice astronomer, astronomy software can serve as a great introductory course into the immense beauty of the night sky. A fascination with the stars is as old as humanity itself, and there is much to admire simply by gazing skyward with the naked eye. For the more discriminating astronomer, who desires to know the mysteries of the stars, astronomy software is great stepping stone to a better understanding of the celestial bodies in the night sky.
While a telescope is a wonderful and almost necessary piece of equipment for those that truly want to see the stars in all of their glory, it can be a troublesome task for a novice to know what star, planet, galaxy, or constellation that they are observing. This is where software devoted to astronomy comes in handy. There are companies like Deepsky, for one, that sell great software that will help you garner both a better understanding and appreciation for the cosmos. There are also many software programs devoted to astronomy that are considered "freeware". What this means is that this software is free for the consumer. This is a great plus for anybody with an interest in astronomy who also lacks the funds that one would think is necessary for advanced astronomy software.
There is no one "right" astronomy software. Different software offers different benefits. Some astronomy software will show you a star chart that gives you the visible constellations and planets and their locations depending on your location and the time of year that you are observing the sky. Some software shows you the position of the moon at every stage of its cycle. Still, other software may not show you maps but instead graphs that allow you to gauge exactly how visible a specific star, planet, or constellation is, depending on when and where you are looking at it. This is why it is necessary to first figure out exactly what you want in your software program. Then you can investigate the many astronomy computer programs in order to find the one that best suits what it is you are looking for.
No matter what astronomy software you choose to aid you in your astronomical viewings, you can be certain that any and all will be a benefit to the rising amateur astronomer. The universe is a vast and beautiful sight to behold, and you must consider each night of stargazing as a learning experience. In the end, whether with the help of software or without, you can be sure that you will fall madly in love with the beauty and wonder that is the night sky.