Watching the Skies at Night in the Autumn and Winter Months

As the days get shorter, longer hours of darkness might feel depressing to some, but if you are a keen astronomer or you fancy starting to get into astronomy, the long dark nights offer plenty of opportunities to see lots going on in the night sky!

Wrap up warm in clothing like this irish fisherman sweater and head out to somewhere rural with low light pollution, or a dark sky reserve if you are lucky enough to live somewhere nearby one of the dark sky reserves in the UK.

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Here are some of the best things to see in the night sky during the autumn months…

Constellations – In the winter you can pick out many of the constellations with ease. The familiar W shape of Cassiopeia the queen is easy to spot, and the king Cepheus is to the west. On the horizon looking north you will also be able to see the plough, with its distinctive saucepan shape and the handle pointing to the pole star.

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The Milky Way – If you get a dark enough sky, you will be able to make out the milky way running through it. When there is a new moon, this is the best time to see it, and in the early autumn it will be most visible.

Meteor Showers – There are lots of meteor showers to see during the autumn and winter months from the UK. In November there are the Leonids to see, and December treats us to two different displays, the Geminids and the Ursids.

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