Meteor shower tonight?

It's time to wrap up, take out a deck chair and look towards the sky, as stars move centre stage this autumn. Here's our run down of celestial activity in October, with the Orionids meteor shower making an appearance and becoming especially visible on 21 and 22 October.

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Find Mercury | Best nights - early October

The first few days of the month is the only chance you’ll have of seeing the tiny planet Mercury. It skulks low to the horizon at magnitude –1.0, rising just before 6am. You will need a good clear horizon and possibly binoculars to help you see this elusive world. But be mindful that the sun will soon rise and you DO NOT want to see that through your binoculars.

Find Jupiter | Best nights - 1 and 28 October

Dominating the night sky is the giant planet Jupiter. It rises around 7pm and shines at a magnificent magnitude of –2.9. On the 1 October, the moon passes above the planet and on the 28 October the partially-eclipsed full moon will pass by again.

Find Venus | 10 October

If you’re a night owl then around 3am look for Venus. The ‘morning star’ shines at a very impressive magnitude –4.4. On 10 October, Venus will lie just below and to the right of regulus (the brightest star in Leo) and the crescent moon will be above both of them. It will be a lovely sight!

See the new Moon | 14 October

Say hello to the new moon on 14 October.

Find Saturn | Best nights - 23 and 24 October

Look to the right of Jupiter to find the ringed world, Saturn. It will have risen before sunset and sets around 2.30am. It's much fainter than Jupiter at magnitude +0.6. It is quite low in the sky, lying in the constellation Aquarius. The moon passes by on 23 and 24 October. 

See the full moon | Best night – 28 October

On 28 October there is a new moon which is also partial eclipsed. The moon will be near Jupiter at the time. Only 12% of the moon will be covered – it will cover the very southern part of the moon. 

British Summer Time ends – 29 October

It’s official, summer is over and the woolly socks need to come out.

See the Orionids meteor shower | Best nights: 21 and 22 October

The shower is made from grains of dust left behind by Halley’s comet. The best time to look for meteors will be after 10pm, once the moon has set. The shower peaks around the 21 and 22 October. Remember to wrap up, take out a deck chair and look towards the north. Happy hunting!