There are few things as fascinating as learning about stars. Stars have captivated human kind for its entire existence!

Today, we are lucky to have some awesome FREE software packages that not only show all the constellations, but are also able to do accurate simulations based on your position and the time of day so that when you look in any direction, you can know exactly where to find a specific star.

While we are not gadget freaks, we do take our tablet computers and small netbooks with on a holiday, as these little devices are so compact and can store huge amounts of information.

Have a look at the following:

Stellarium

Stellarium is a package with the earth as base and is configured to give you an accurate view of the horison based on your position on the earth. It is a fascinating package which allows you to adjust the simulation speed and take you through cycles of day and night at any point in time.

It is a particular useful tool to get an idea of how constellations will move in the sky, as the earth tilts back and forth on it's axes to give us our seasons of the year.

Stellarium is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Celestia

Celestia has a different approach than Stellarium and you can position yourself at ANY known point in the Milky Way and see how planets and moons revolve around their suns. Once again, it is an awesome piece of software that will provide hours of entertainment.

Celestia is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Google Sky

If you are looking for stars software on mobile devices, like your i-powered and Android phone or tablet, Google Sky is a greatĀ pieceĀ of work. It works with the internal tilt-sensors of your device and you can point it at any angle and any direction to the sky. It will then show you the constellations and provide additional information. While it is a little temperamental, it still works well and is a fabulous tool in your pocket.

This is a real time tool and not used for simulations. If you do not haul along a computer or tablet with, at least load this on your phone.

Google Sky is available for both Apple and Android and can be downloaded through the built-in package managers.