This page shows a brief summary of what interesting things we can see in the sky this month.
A more detailed version of 'What's Up' this month is available as a downloadable Word document right at the bottom of this page.
We are now well into Autumn with some of the best skies for observing.
The summer Triangle is now in the West and the deep sky favourites the Perseus
sword handle (The double cluster) and the Great Andromeda Galaxy are overhead.
The Hyades and Pleiades rise well before midnight.
The Sun - is at sunspot minimum, the sun has been quiet of late.
The phases of the Moon are as follows:
This is a good month to observe a waning moon before midnight, try it.
Darkest skies are during the first and last week
Mercury is a difficult evening object, low down in the sunset during the first week.
Venus is a spectacular morning object, best on the 3rd when she almost touches Regulus.
Mars is at opposition on the 6th, this is the best time to see him dominate the sky.
Jupiter is low down in the West but brilliant at mag minus 2.2, don't leave it too late.
Saturn is still easy to observe low in the southwest soon after sunset but setting about 9pm.
Uranus, an easy binocular object in Pisces. He is at opposition on the 31st, so closest to us.
Neptune is a binocular object in Aquarius, but easier in a small telescope, recently opposed.
No bright comets this month
No bright asteroids this month.
Three showers this month, the Draconids is around during 8th October, whilst the the moon is last quarter. The Orionids are due on the 20th to 22nd, peaking 4:00 am, the moon does not interfere.
The Taurids, though infrequent can be spectacular with huge bright fireballs, they fall on the last few days of the month and the first two weeks of November, though spoiled by a full moon.
Darkest nights, due to moonlight, are from the 24th to the 30th of October. This is a good time to
explore the Milky Way, start in the west at Altair in Aquilla (it’s the bright ‘point’ of the Summer Triangle. and rise up into Sagitta ‘the arrow’. Between Gamma and Delta (the point and the shaft) look for open cluster NGC6838 or M71 a modest globular.
Continuing into the eastern sky, Perseus, best known for the double cluster, is also host to M34 or NGC1039 a good cluster that is easily resolved in a telescope, about half way between Algol and Alamak (Gamma Andromeda).
Next in the tour is Auriga, the charioteer. Generally seen as a five sided figure, it used to be called the hay-rick (it’s upside down this month) and it has something in common with the ‘square of Pegasus’ in that they have both lost a member star to a neighbouring constellation. In this case El Nath, the southernmost corner of the hayrick is now Beta Taurus.