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Look up!

The long nights ahead are perfect for star and planet gazing, and you don’t (always) have to stay up so late. What might you see staring up into the darkness in the next month or two?

Meteor shower calendar


Visible: 28 December 2022 to 12 January 2023

Peak: 4 January

Rate/hour: 110


Visible: 14-30 April

Peak: 22-23 April

Rate/hour: 18

Eta Aquariids

Visible: 19 April - 28 May

Peak: 6 May

Rate/hour: 50

Alpha Capricornids

Visible: 3 July - 15 August

Peak: 30 July

Rate/hour: 5

Southern Delta Aquariids

Visible: 12 July - 23 August

Peak: 30 July

Rate/hour: 25


Visible: 17 July - 24 August

Peak: 12-13 August

Rate/hour: 100


Visible: 2 October - 7 November

Peak: 21-22 October

Rate/hour: 25


Visible: 6-10 October

Peak: 8-9 October

Rate/hour: 10

Northern Taurids

Visible: 20 October - 10 December

Peak: 12-13 November

Rate/hour: 5


Visible: 6-30 November

Peak: 17-18 November

Rate/hour: 10


Visible: 4-20 December

Peak: 14-15 December

Rate/hour: 150


Visible: 17-26 December

Peak: 22-23 December

Rate/hour: 10

Aaron Jenkins - Starry night sky over the sea

Credit: Aaron Jenkins

Meteor Shower


What? A steady silvery light.

When? Three hours before dawn in October and November.

Where? Found in the eastern sky, near to the horizon.

Orionid meteor shower

What? Fast-moving, fine trains of light, made up of pieces of the famous Comet 1P/Halley. While Comet Halley only passes earth every 75-76 years, the tiny debris falling from the comet as it orbits the sun enters our earth’s atmosphere each year.

When? 2 October - 7 November, with the meteor peak on the night of 21 – 22 October, from midnight until dawn.

Where? The meteors’ path seems to originate from a point in the Orion constellation, in the west-southwest direction in the UK night skies.


What? Bright “star” with yellowish-orange hue.

When? In the morning 2 hours before the sun rises between Nov 3 and Nov 22.

Where? Look to the horizon. You might also see Venus shining brightly nearby.


What? Shining at a magnitude of 2.7, Mars is three times brighter than Sirius (the brightest star in the night sky).

When? Throughout October and November

Where? Mars rises over the eastern horizon, early to mid-evening. Visible shining closely to the moon at dawn.


What? Non-twinkling, silvery star.

When? Visible in the evenings until mid-December.

Where? Against the star background of Sagittarius, the Archer.

Aaron Jenkins - Starry night sky over the sea

Credit: Aaron Jenkins

Orion the hunter

What? A short, straight line of three medium-bright stars.

When? From early November, Orion the Hunter will become easy to spot during the mid-evening.

Where? Rising in the east.

Geminid meteor shower

What? The meteors of Geminid burn in several colours due to the trace metals found in the rocks entering the atmosphere. If you’re lucky, you could see up to 100 meteors per hour.

When? From 4 to 20 December 2023, peaking on 14-15 December.

Where? Locate the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini, for the point at which the meteor shower begins. To find Gemini, first find Orion (see above), then turn your head slightly northeast.


Visible: 17-26 December

Peak: 22-23 December

Rate/hour: 10

Further reading

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