We’re on vacation, sort of. I forgot to ask for time off so I’m going in to work and hanging at the beach cottage in the evening. That’s why I have the laptop with me.
A few weeks ago I saw Stellarium on Freshmeat.net’s OS X section so I downloaded it to my ibook.
Night before last Mary and I stayed up late and watched the stars. There were zillions of ’em and some obvious planets. We figured the super bright and fairly bright planets must be Venus and Jupiter, but weren’t sure beyond that and the Big Dipper. I remembered Stellarium so I ran in and got it and clicked on our location and told it to plot the current time. It showed us a map of the sky as it was then and there, zing zing. We were right about Jupiter. The other really bright star in the sky was Arcturus. We also saw Spica near Jupiter, and Vega, and lots of other great stuff.
The next night we let the kids stay up that late and we showed them all the stars that we’d found out about the night before, bolstering our reputation for parental omniscience.
It was really cool. They’d never really looked at the stars before.
Kudos to Stellarium.