I have been writing a fair bit about astrophotography and have neglected to mention a particular favorite tool I have. Best of all this tool is available to all, free to use, and has limitless foresight. Sounds like a pretty smart idea huh?
Its actually a website. Thank you internet for having absolutely everything available that anyone could ever possibly need. In this case, I have found a website that will show what you can see in the sky, from any direction at your exact location.
Its taking the star charts to the next level. The website is created and maintained by John Walker, and can be found at www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/ I find the Horizon View most useful. Simply check out a google map and get your latitude and longitude. With that, plug the coordinates in on John Walker's website, and then choose your azimuth - or the direction you are facing. In my case, the balcony looks south, so anything in that direction I can enjoy from the comfort of my own home.
Just a quick post for anyone who has picked up an astronomy bug from reading the few posts I have here on the subject. Hope Mr. Walker's website serves you well.