What to See in the Autumn Night Sky
As the warm nights of summer give way to crisp autumnal evenings, there's plenty of autumn deep sky objects to see in the night skies.
In the west after sunset is the constellation of Hercules, which is home to magnificent autumn deep sky objects, the globular cluster M13 which was the first star cluster I observed and imaged. The M13 globular cluster is visible in binoculars from a site with dark skies, and is a superb target for a small telescope.
In the nearby constellations of Lyra and Vulpecula you'll also find two beautiful planetary nebulae. M57, the Ring Nebula appears as a grey ring through a 6 to 8 inch telescope, while the dumbbell nebula, M27, looks like a fuzzy patch of faint light.
You can find M33 by following the line from the star Mirach to Upsilon Andromedae, and extending it about the same distance in a straight line.
Finally there are some striking double stars on show in autumn. The blue and gold pair of Albireo, the head of Cygnus, is perhaps the most impressive, and the equally impressive "Double Double" Epsilon Lyrae should not be overlooked.
Autumn Meteor Showers
Autumn is a very quiet time for meteor showers, the only one of note is the Orionids which last throughout October and into early November. You can expect a rate of 20-25 meteors per hour. The shower starts around the 2nd October and lasts until around the 7th November.
Autumn is an ideal time to observe the following constellations.