Anybody who has seen my photography in the last couple of years will have noticed that I'm fascinated with shooting the Milky Way. And everybody should know by now that to take pictures of the night sky you need a really, really high ISO camera (like my Nikon D3.
But there's another tool that will make life a lot easier. You see, you really need to know when and where the Milky Way is going to make itself available. It rises and sets just like the sun and the moon. Knowing when that's going to happen from a given location can save you a lot of fruitless, sleepless nights.
That's where SkyVoyager comes in. It's a really nice, easy to use astronomy program from Carina Software. I've used it for several years. It'll tell you sunrise and sunset info as well as moonrise and moonset, and where these objects will be any time of the day or night, today or in the past or in the future. So when I knew that I was going to be on Easter Island with the cool statues in January on just one day I could see that the Milky Way would be visible AND that the moon would set by midnight, giving me a shot at a picture.
Now comes the good part. They just ported it over to iPhone! It's not cheap, as iPhone apps go, costing $14.99. But, hey, if I've only got one shot at a great picture in a remote location, that's nothing.
The laptop version is easier to use, I think, but I'm glad to have both of them available. SkyVoager and a $5000 Nikon D3 and you're ready!