The free Stellarium software can be found by following this link and is simple to install and set up.
With all the current interest in Comets ISON, Lovejoy, Enke etc.. gracing our skies at the moment now seems like a good a time as any to make these easier for people to locate in the night sky.
Once the software has been installed there is a relatively straight forward process to follow below and you can add the name of any comet, asteroid or small solar system body to appear in the software.
Hopefully these steps are easy to follow and if there are any questions ask away.
I'm going to use comet C/2012 S1 ISON as the example comet here as that is the one that is garnering the most attention right now.
1. Press F2 to open the "configuration" window. Under the
"Plugins" tab in the "Configuration" window, select "Solar System Editor". Under "options" at the bottom
of the tab, click the "Configure" button. A
window for "Solar System; objects" will open. Under the "Solar System tab" of
the "Solar System objects" window, click the "Import orbital elements in MPC
format" button at the bottom
of the tab. An "import data" window will open.
2.Under the "lists" tab of the "Import data" window,
Select the "type" as "comets"; select the
"source" as "download a list of objects from the internet"; under "or select
from the list" click on "Select bookmark" and select "MPC's list of observable
comets," and then click the button
"get orbital elements."
A list of objects found
will load. Scroll down and check the box next to
C/2012 S1 ISON , then click the "Add; objects". C/2012 S1 ISON will then be added
to your solar system. Close the Solar System
editor and Configuration
If you want to see where ISON will be in the
sky, you'll need to update your location and
Find ISON. Press F3 to open the "Find object"
window. Type in "C/2012 S1 ISON " and you should only see one choice "C/2012 S1 ISON " below the search box. Click the magnifying glass at the right of the
search box to lock in onISON. It will
automatically give you a view of the sky where
ISON is located.
So there you go, that should enable you to locate any comet you wish in Stellarium.
I hope this is of help to somebody.
In keeping with the Comet theme I have attached my first ever pic of a comet, C/2013 R1 Lovejoy.
The comet has since gone on and brightened considerably becoming observable to the naked eye and is currently visible in the early morning skies towards the East.