Software isn’t just helpful for people who study astronomy, it is becoming absolutely critical. While it is true that astronomers existed before the invention of computers—and made some pretty spectacular observations and theories—now it just isn’t feasible to process the massive amount of information gathered on a regular basis without the use of software. Of course, home astronomers or amateur astronomers don’t have massive amounts of raw data, but that doesn’t mean that astronomy software isn’t both needed and appreciated. Software can be anything from a simple small program that tells you when the moon is going to rise and set, or something as complicated as Microsoft Worldwide Telescope program, which could very well change the way people study and learn about astronomy, both in and out of the classroom.
Some software is freeware, so that means you can download it for free, you don’t have to pay for it, and you can use it on your computer as much as you need to. Other software has a small fee associated with it, but if the program is useful, then it is probably worth the investment. The most elaborate programs and software will be much more expensive, as computer software tends to be, but once again, if you use it enough, either professionally or as part of your hobby, then the investment is worth it, and ultimately, the software will pay for itself. These programs are different from astronomy hardware, which includes your computer, telescope, accessories, and peripherals.
Meade telescopes are available for research or personal interest. However, their capabilities are limitless.
Started in 1975, Orion Telescope manufactures telescopes for astronomy as well as binoculars for bird watching.