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. Even the mighty hunter will be peeping over the horizon as the clock strikes twelve.
The Sun is producing more sunspots at a greater rate than for a decade!
The phases of the Moon are as follows:
Darkest skies are during the first week
Mercury becomes a morning object in the sunrise at the month’s end.
Venus is an evening object, best on the 31st when visible from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Mars, is in solar conjunction on the 8th and so not available.
Jupiter is brilliant in the South at mag minus 2.5, don’t leave it too late.
Saturn is still easy to observe low in the southwest after sunset but setting about 10:30 pm.
Uranus, an easy binocular object almost at opposition, good time to look.
Neptune is a binocular object in Aquarius but easier in a small telescope recently
Several asteroids are brighter than M10 but need a dark sky.
4P Faye is faint near Betelgeuse, also needs darkness.
Three showers this month, the Draconids around the 8th and the Moon is New.
The Orionids are due on the 20th to 22nd Peaking 4:00 am, but the Full Moon interferes.
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, spoiled by a Full Moon however.
Darkest nights due to moonlight are from the 2nd to the 10th of October.
Venus is very near to the Galactic Centre and 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 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. Between this star and Theta Aurigus are no less than three good clusters, M36, M37 and M38.