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Read our October sky notes to find out what’s in the night sky this month!

Map

Constellations

These constellations are well placed in the evening this month, but many more can be seen. Check the star map for more.

Pegasus moves across the southern sky throughout the night, setting in the west shortly before sunrise. It can be seen all night for most of the month, but sets earlier as time goes on. Look for the Great Square of Pegasus to locate it.

Gemini rises late evening in the north east and moves towards the west over the course of the night. It rises around midnight at the beginning of the month, but as the month progresses it rises earlier in the evening.

Labelled constellation of Gemini.

Cetus rises in the east in the late evening and moves across the southern sky towards the west. As time goes on, it rises earlier, becoming visible just after sunset by the end of the month.

Planets

Mercury is too close to the Sun to be visible this month. It reaches greatest eastern elongation on the 1st and is at dichotomy (half-phase) on the 6th. Mercury will be in conjunction with the Moon on the 17th. At a highest altitude of 4° however, none of these features will be visible.

Venus can be seen in the morning sky for a few hours before sunrise. It rises in the east, a little earlier each day, and appears in the constellation of Virgo. Venus will be in conjunction with the Moon on the 14th.

Mars is visible all night this month in the southern sky. It rises in the east and sets in the west, but is best visible around midnight (23:00 GMT) when it is due south and highest in the sky. Mars is in conjunction with the Moon on the morning of the 3rd and on the 29th. It will reach perigee, its closest point to the Earth, on the 6th and will be at opposition on the 14th.

Jupiter can only be seen in the early evening this month, before setting in the south west before midnight. It first becomes visible in the south directly after sunset, and sets earlier as the month goes on. Look for it low on the horizon. Jupiter will be in conjunction with the Moon on the 22nd.

Saturn follows close behind Jupiter, appearing directly after sunset in the southern sky. It then travels low on the horizon, setting late evening in the south west.

Uranus is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. With equipment, it can be seen moving across the southern sky during the night. Rising in the east just after sunset, it is visible all night. Uranus will be at opposition in the constellation of Aries on the 31st. You will need binoculars or a telescope to view it.

Neptune is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. It is visible with equipment in the southern sky, appearing in the south east after sunset and setting in the west a couple of hours before sunrise.

Meteor Showers

The Camelopardalids reach their peak on the 5th. The radiant (origin point) is in the constellation of Camelopardalis and is circumpolar, so meteors will be visible all night. Best displays will be seen just after sunset, as the shower peaks at 17:00 BST.

The sky at the Camelopardalids peak (16:20 BST).

The Draconids reach their peak on the night of the 8th. The radiant (origin point) of the meteors is in the constellation of Draco, and will be visible all night. Best views are likely to be early evening, when Draco is highest in the sky.

The sky at the Draconids’ peak (12:27 BST).

The Southern Taurids reach their peak on the 10th. The radiant (origin point) in the constellation of Taurus rises at 19:01, so meteors will be visible from this point until sunrise. Best displays are likely to be around 02:00 BST, with an hourly rate of around 3 meteors.

The sky at the Southern Taurids’ peak (03:27 BST).

The δ-Aurigids reach their peak on the morning of the 11th. The radiant (origin point) in the constellation of Auriga is circumpolar, so meteors will be visible all night. Best views will be around 05:00 BST when the shower peaks, with an hourly rate of about 1 meteor.

The sky at the δ-Aurigids’ peak (03:36 BST).

The ε-Geminids reach their peak on the 18th, with an hourly rate of about 2 meteors per hour. The radiant (origin point) rises in the constellation of Gemini at 21:15, so meteors will only be visible after this point. Best views are likely to be just before dawn, as the shower peaks around 06:00 BST.

The sky at the ε-Geminids’ peak (05:05 BST).

The Orionids reach their peak on the night of the 20th, with a maximum hourly rate of 15 meteors. The radiant (origin point) is in the constellation of Orion and rises about 21:51. Meteors will be visible from this point onwards. Best views will be in the early hours of the morning and before dawn, when Orion is highest in the sky.

The sky at the Orionids’ peak (05:31 BST).

The Leonis Minorids reach their peak on the 24th. The radiant (origin point) in the constellation of Leo Minor sinks below the horizon between 20:34 and 22:38. Therefore meteors will not be visible in this period, but can be seen the rest of the night. Best displays are likely to be shortly before dawn, when the radiant is at its highest point. You will be able to see about 1 meteor per hour.

The sky at the Leonis Minorids’ peak (05:51 BST)

Moon

Full Moon: 1st, 31st

Last Quarter: 10th

New Moon: 16th

First Quarter: 23rd

The second full Moon of the month on the 31st is known as a Blue Moon.

The Moon reaches perigee, its closest point to the Earth, on the 17th and apogee, its furthest point on the 3rd and the 30th. This effect is not visually apparent.

The Moon will be at perihelion, its closest point to the Sun, on the 19th and aphelion, its furthest point, on the 28th. This effect is not visually apparent.

Points of Interest

The dwarf planet Eris will be at opposition on the 17th and visible in the constellation of Cetus between 21:39 and 04:28. It reaches its highest point in the sky around midnight, but you will need at least a 4-inch telescope to view it.

Asteroid 11 Parthenope will be at opposition on the 23rd. It is well placed in the constellation of Pisces, and will be visible between 20:59 and 04:57. You will need at least a 4-inch telescope to view it.

Asteroid 471 Papagena will be at opposition on the 27th. It will be visible in the constellation of Cetus from 21:23 to 02:53. You will need at least a 4-inch telescope to view it.

Visit Spot the Station to find out when the ISS will be visible from your location.

Last updated: 1st September.

Due to the current situation involving Covid-19, Woking Planetarium is currently closed until further notice. We are sorry for the inconvenience and hope you will join us for more space exploration in the future!Click here for more information
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