Hm I know I've seen some cool videos on YouTube made with some sort of simulation software, but I guess I'm not sure if those are actually useful for observations. And I don't remember their names! :|
The only one I could really find on Amazon is "Starry Night"http://www.amazon.com/Starry-Night-Pro- ... 353&sr=1-7
even though the most recent version appears to have come out in 2001 (and at least initially had Vista compatibility issues).
Ah, Googling a bit turned up a large software list on AstronomyOnline.orghttp://astronomyonline.org/AstronomySoftware.asp
which says that "The Sky" is the most popularhttp://www.amazon.com/Software-Bisque-T ... 916&sr=1-1
From its description it also looks a little more "professional," whatever that means.
AstroTips.com has some reviews of various software:http://astrotips.com/Reviews.phtml
And while Googling I also came across this "free open source planetarium software"http://www.stellarium.org/
which looks kind of neat! I'll have to see if I can play around with it. Ooh another free one that had a good review on AstroTips.com is Cartes du Ciel:http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/index.php
which looks much more in-depth if maybe not quite as slick.