All information presented here is taken from my 74 page book

Nightscenes 2018 which is available to order from our web shop and all good book stores! Note we can no longer supply printed copies as we’ve run out but a pdf version is now available from our web shop. A kindle version is also available from Amazon UK

Click on the monthly image to get a larger high resolution view of the night sky set for 53° N (Horncastle, England) but is usable for the UK and Eire.  All charts are set for the 1st of the month at 22:00 GMT (10pm) and can be used on the other dates and times shown in each corner of the chart.

October 2018

Solar System quick summary

For most charts see the buttons at the top for various planets etc.. Charts & images in the text can be clicked to give a larger view.

Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner now lies in the morning sky and Comet 46P/Wirtanen lies low in the morning sky as a binocular object at the end of the month. Jupiter is low in the evening twilight with Saturn and Mars as the main bright evening planets. Vesta lies to the left of Saturn. Neptune is in Aquarius and good to view in the evenings. Uranus reaches opposition on the 24th and is viewable all night. Juno becomes viewable in a 10x50 binocular. The Draconids meteor shower peaks on the night of the 8th, Southern Taurids on the 10th whilst the Orionids peak on the 21s. Zeta Gemini is occulted by the Moon on the 30th. Ceres, Venus and Mercury are too close to the Sun to view.

Main events


Saturn and Mars still dominate the evening skies with Jupiter low in the evening twilight. Neptune was at opposition last month so is now much easier to view late in the evenings. It shines at mag 7.8 so a binocular is needed or a small telescope. The chart shows Neptune from Sept 1st through to Nov 1st around 10pm and in small instruments it shows a subtle bluish tint betraying its identity.

Uranus is the last of the major planets to reach opposition this year and it does so late in the month on the 24th 10-Oct-Uranus.jpgaround 2am, which is interesting as technically the Moon is Full  later that day at 5:45pm indicating they have to be close to each other in the sky - and so they are as the chart at left shows. This is set for 7pm on the 24th but also shows the motion of Uranus against the background stars from Oct 1st to Dec 1st.

Uranus now shines at mag 5.7 and when the Moon is out of the way keen eyed viewers may be able to spot it without optical aid. In a binocular or small telescope it has a greenish hue which the author always finds useful when trying to spot it with his 10x50 binocular. From now until the end of the year Uranus will lie in the evening sky becoming easier as it rises earlier with each passing night.

10-Oct-Uranus-close.jpgThe close up chart at right shows the motion of Uranus for the same period indicating the Uranus lies not too far from two similar magnitude stars, mag 5.9 HD 11257 and also mag 6.7 HD 11592. Next month it lies between them on Nov 3rd then closest to HD 11257 on Nov 7th & 8th.

10-Oct-Jup-mn-Ant.jpgIn the evenings as Jupiter drops lower into the twilight the slim crescent Moon lies to its upper right on the early evening of the 11th so look about ¾ hr after sunset to catch the view before Jupiter sets. The next evening the Moon lies above Beta Scorpius with Antares to their lower left, then the Moon lies to the far left of Antares on the 13th so a nice sequence to look out for.  Jupiter and Antares are losing the race against the twilight and, by the end of October, Antares is no longer viewable with Jupiter setting not long after the Sun so it too is almost gone for now. But as Jupiter is quite bright it lingers into early next month.


The Moon in the early evenings is always a lovely sight so a few evenings later, on the 14th and 15th, it lies either side of Saturn helping you locate the ringed planet as shown here. Saturn also passes south of Mu Sagittarius on the 9th whilst a couple of nights earlier, Vesta lies close and below Lambda Sagittarius on the 7th so it is a busy area of sky. The charts here are set for 8pm so a little later than for Jupiter as Saturn and Vesta lies towards the south on the above dates. Note that the Moon on the 15th lies to the right of the ‘Teaspoon’ asterism to add to the view.


Note that on the 4th & 5th Vesta also passes below the globular cluster M28 as we can see on the chart at left.

October has two main meteor showers this month and a minor one worth checking out. The Draconids peak on night of the 8th and the radiant is circumpolar so is above the horizon all night. This is a good year to look out for them, as the Moon is new on the 9th, so there is no moonlight to spoil the view. The ZHR (under perfect conditions) is normally around 10 per hour but it is possible there may be more as the IMO suggest a possible 20 to 50 so worth keeping a look out!  The radiant is on the monthly all sky chart.

J10-Oct-Orionids.jpgust two days later the Southern Taurids peak on the 10th so again there is no moonlight to spoil them The ZHR is low at 5 but as the peak is close to New Moon then it might be worth looking out for them. Ironicallyon peak night the radiant lies above the head of Cetus, not Taurus and is close to Xi2  Ceti!

      However, the Orionids fare poorer on their peak night of Oct 21st being spoiled by the Moon until it sets after 4am next morning. That still gives a chance of dark skies as the radiant is best seen in the early hours. The ZHR is expected to be 20 per hour but remember - this is under absolutely perfect conditions if the radiant was directly overhead so it may be between 5 to 10 per hour if we are lucky.

Also look out for the following:

Oct     4th Thick Crescent Moon lies to right of M44 (morning)

Oct     5th Moon lies to upper right of Regulus (morning)

Oct     6th Moon lies near to left side of Regulus (morning)

Oct   11th Neptune lies between 81 & 83 Aqr (evening)

Oct   17th Moon lies to the right of Mars (evening)

Oct   18th Moon lies closer to the left of Mars (evening)

Oct   26th Moon forms triangle with M45 and Aldebaran (evening)

Oct   27th Moon lies to the left of Aldebaran (evening)

Oct   30th Moon occults Zeta Gemini (morning)

  Clear skies and happy sky watching.


The UK & Ireland Night Sky for 2018


British Summer Time, also known as Daylight Saving Time, ends on Sunday, October 28th at 2 am when the clocks should be put back 1 hour to give GMT.

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