Last week, while checking out all the neat applications in my SO's copy of Knoppix (a full Linux distribution on one CD), I came across a program called KStars. I was interested, but didn't get a chance to really look at it all that much.
Tonight, though, my SO reminded me of it, and just installed it for me. I've been having fun looking at all the stars and planets. The program can be adjusted for time of day, and location (I have mine set for Hamilton). I was able to set the time for yesterday morning, and orient myself enough to find out what that bright star I see outside my window is - turns out it's Venus! It had been bothering me for a while because it didn't look like a normal star to me, and it was REALLY bright. I can't see it tonight, though. Its currently below the horizon, and besides, its too cloudy out. I can't see any stars at the moment, especially with the light pollution. Though on a clear night, the view is usually pretty good from my balcony.
This program shows the class of stars or glaxys or basically anything else I might click on, and it tells the rise and set time for my time zone. I'm online, so I can click on stars and download a real photograph of the star from some archive or other. There are links to NASA pages and a couple of other things that don't seem to work, but this is only version 0.8.5. I hope the developpers spend more time on it!
Just thought I'd share!