Dark Skies October Update
The attached sky chart shows the sky at around 10pm BST mid-October. In terms of planets, the evening sky is thin on the ground with only the faint and hard to find outer planets on show. For the early risers amongst us though, the morning skies offer much better viewing.
Venus is brilliantly obvious in the SE skies a couple of hours before sunrise, and is accompanied by Mars and Jupiter a little further to the east and slightly lower in the sky. At the moment, Mars is a little “unremarkable”, just a red dot of light, but as the year progresses the planet will become much better for viewing with telescopes. Around the 18th of the month, Mars and Jupiter will be less than two thirds of a Moon diameter apart, and look out in the early hours of the 9th - 10th October to see the pairing joined by a slender crescent moon.
The main meteor shower for the month is also best seen in the post midnight hours. The Orionid shower, with the radiant in the NE borders of Orion, peaks on the night of 21st - 22nd October with some 25 meteors per hour possible. Although the Moon will be three quarters illuminated, it will set by 1am BST so schedule a good observing session in the pre dawn skies. Could be chilly though, so wrap up warm!