Eye on the Sky

Here is our pick of what to look out for in the night sky during October 2019


Evening The Milky Way A pale band of light arcing across the sky from north east to south west. At this time of the year we are looking up at the Cygnus star clouds with the galactic centre a little way below the horizon in the south west. The Cygnus star clouds can provide enough light for walking at night in the Dark Sky Park once your eyes are fully dark adapted.
  Shooting Stars A good month for meteor showers with both the Draconids and Orionids putting in an appearance.

The Planets

After sunset Saturn Briefly visible in the early part of the month towards the south west before setting shortly after nightfall.
All night Uranus Rising in the east in the constellation of Aries during the late evening. The planetary nature of it’s pale blue disc should be obvious through binoculars.

Night Sky Diary

1st – 12th

Waxing Moon The best time for evening Moon watching is during the waxing phase. The most interesting area to look at is the line that separates night from day on our satellites’ surface. Along that line the rising sun casts long shadows and highlights the rugged lunar landscape. The view is constantly changing as the lunar sunrise progresses.

8th – 9th

Draconids Meteor Shower The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing about 10 meteors per hour. The Draconids is an unusual shower because the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers. The shower runs annually from October 6-10. Meteors radiate from the constellation Draco.

21st – 22nd

Orionids Meteor Shower The Orionids is an average shower of up to 20 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by Halley’s comet. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. Meteors radiate from the constellation Orion.

21st – 28th

Dark Sky Week The lunar last quarter is when our evening skies will be at their darkest. The next seven days will be the best time for spotting nebulae and other deep sky objects.
28th New Moon A beautiful crescent moon will be visible in the west around sunset. See if you can spot the “Earthshine” on the dark part.

Constellation of the Month


Taurus is a large constellation with a bright centre. It lies south of Perseus and Auriga. It was said to represent a bull in many ancient cultures. Lying within the disc of the Milky Way it hosts two of the brightest star clusters in the northern hemisphere.

Naked Eye

Bright Star

Aldebaran is the conspicuous bright red star in the middle of the constellation. It represents the eye of the bull.

  Open Clusters

The Hyades are the bright group of stars surrounding Aldebaran. They are in the shape of a “V” which is said to represent the face of the bull.

The Pleiades can be found about two and a half binocular fields to the north of the Hyades. They are said to be the daughters of Atlas who were placed in the night sky by Zeus to avoid the attentions of Orion the hunter.

Binoculars Open Cluster

Lying about one binocular field to the east of the Hyades is NGC1647. This large and somewhat sparse cluster looks much better in binoculars then a telescope. It contains nearly 90 stars and is estimated to be 150 million years old.