October 2023 Bright Planets and an Annular Eclipse | Almanac.com

Night Sky for October 2023

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The “ring of fire” produced by an annular solar eclipse.

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Visible planets, bright stars, and an Annular Eclipse!

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October is a special month for skygazing. With the autumnal equinox, the seasons have turned, and we’ll enjoy darker night skies ahead. Gaze up anytime after dinner, say around 8 PM., for star-filled planetarium conditions through the end of the month with the Hunter’s Moon. Here are the highlights.

Lunar brightness won’t be around before midnight after October’s first week, and the sky will be totally moonless mid-month, making for a perfect 8 PM sky-session. Look east for the sky’s brightest “star,” Jupiter. And for those with telescopes, you can’t beat Saturn, the solitary bright “star” halfway up the southern sky. Those two are so bright, they’ll look great even if you live near city lights. 

October 8 to 10: Draconid Meteor Shower

The Draconids may not be a major meteor shower (about six meteors per hour), but they kick off the busy meteor shower season!  In 2023, the shower will peak close to the new Moon so that moonlight will present minimal interference.  The late evening is the best time to see these shooting stars. See the Meteor Shower Guide for more information.

October 10:  The Morning Show

Take your morning cup of Joe outside today! At 6:00 A.M., or whenever your alarm goes off, look east for a dazzling view of  Venus and the crescent Moon, with much less bright Regulus, Leo’s blue alpha star, ideally between them.  This is a beautiful don’t-miss conjunction.

October 14: Annular Solar Eclipse

For the first time in 11 years, a “Ring of Fire” Solar Eclipse will be visible in North America. The path runs through Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The eclipse begins at 11:04 A.M. EDT (8:04 A.M. PDT) and ends at 4:55 P.M. EDT (1:55 P.M. PDT). See my Full Guide to the 2023 “Ring of Fire” Annual Solar Eclipse.

October 20 to 21: Orionid Meteor Shower

Another overhead phenom this month will be meteors. The Orionids, which peak around the 21st, zoom through the sky at 41 miles per second and deliver a shooting star every three to five minutes. Each of these streakers are apple-seed-sized pieces that fell off history’s most famous celestial object – Halley’s comet.

In 2023, though the Moon is 37% full (close to First Quarter - with the First Quarter Moon arriving on October 21 at 11:29 P.M.), it sets around midnight, leaving dark skies for what could be a good show.

Find the Moon rise/set times and planet rise/set times.


The Orionids radiate from the well-known constellation Orion the Hunter, specifically from a point near the Hunter’s Club.  When looking for the meteor shower, look away from the Moon towards darker regions of the sky.

October 23: Saturn Makes an Appearance

Saturn, the ringed planet, hovers to the upper left of the Moon. The golden planet shines steadily (versus the twinkling stars) high in the sky around 8:00 P.M., making it a gorgeous evening view. 

October 28: Full Hunter’s Moon Rises

October’s full Moon appears on October 28, 2023, at 4:24 P.M. Like last month’s Harvest Moon, the Hunter’s Moon is tied to an astronomical event, the autumnal equinox, and rises around the same time for several nights in a row… so start looking for it on Friday, October 27!

Traditionally, the Hunter’s Moon marked the time to go hunting in preparation for the cold months ahead. Learn more about Hunter’s Moon—and why it often appears bigger!

The 28th is also a great time to break out the telescope; the Full Moon closely meets Jupiter in conjunction. The Giant Planet shines far brighter than all the stars, rising after sunset in the eastern skies and out all night. 

October 31: Happy Halloween!

It’s spooky out there… so be on the lookout for witches and goblins; oh my! This Halloween, the Moon will be 90% illuminated, very near full!  Find out how rare a Full Moon on Halloween is

In addition to the trick-o-treaters, the Pleiades will also be on display… learn all about the seven sisters of Halloween.

The Milky Way

Tilt back your head and look straight overhead. In October, you’ll see the Milky Way split the sky from north to south and crossing the heavens overhead. A century ago it was widely believed to be the entire cosmos. Now we know that our Milky Way galaxy is just one of hundreds of billions that make up the universe. See my new post on taking it straight up!

About The Author

Bob Berman

Bob Berman, astronomer editor for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob is the world’s most widely read astronomer and has written ten popular books. Read More from Bob Berman