What’s up in the UAE Night Sky this October 2021?

The chances to see your favorite planets continue this October, and we may even enjoy a month-long treat of seeing meteors in the sky—that is if (1) you’re patient enough to stargaze, and (2) you’re in a really conducive place to catch them.

Yes, you read that right: month-long. Did you know that October is sprinkled with a number of meteor showers? There’s the Camelopardalid, Draconid, and the Southern Taurid, among others. They all peak during this month, according to In-The-Sky.Org, but these displays are not as remarkable and attention-worthy as the Orionids—the king of October meteor showers.

Meanwhile, to get a better look at our neighbors in the Solar System—especially the stunning deep-sky objects like nebulae and galaxies that pop out better on moonless nights, make use of optical instruments like a telescope or binoculars. The smart telescope Stellina can come in handy with these types of observations. Al Sadeem Astronomy is the only distributor of this smart telescope here in the Middle East. You can place an order or inquiry here.

Check out the list below for the astronomical events happening this October. All dates and times are in UAE Local Time (UTC+4).

October 9 – Conjunction of the Moon and Venus

A young crescent Moon will sit next to the bright planet Venus in the night sky on October 9. They will share the same right ascension—hence considered conjunction—with the Moon about 3.9 degrees to the right of Venus.

In Abu Dhabi, the pair will rise at 6:10 in the evening just right after the sun begins to set at 23° above the south-western horizon, and will bid the skywatchers adieu at 8:26 P.M.

In this screenshot, Stellarium renders the position of the Moon and Venus in the night sky on October 9, 2021.

October 14 – Appulse of Moon and Saturn

On this day, planet Saturn will swing close to the Moon at the southern horizon, reaching their peak in the sky at 7:26 P.M. The pair will set at midnight, giving sky watchers an adequate window of opportunity to observe the ringed planet.

You will also notice gas giant Jupiter is close by, getting ready for its turn to dance with the Moon the following night.

This is the position of the Moon and Saturn on the night of October 14, as rendered by Stellarium.

October 15 – Appulse of Moon and Jupiter

Wave hello to the king of planets tonight as it parades alongside a bright Moon that has reached its First Quarter phase two days ago. Find the pair at its highest point in the sky around 8:27 P.M. at the southern horizon, with Saturn a little close by.

In this screenshot, Stellarium generates the position of the Moon and Jupiter in the night sky on October 15, 2021.

October 21-22 – Orionid Meteor Shower

Alas, we have another meteor shower to stay up all night to. Born out of the debris of Comet 1P/Halley, the Orionid meteor shower is expected to peak at midnight on October 21 and 22, bringing an average of 15 meteors per hour under a perfectly dark sky and the radiant is high above the sky. This is October’s major highlight, with the shower appearing as early as October 16 and fades at month’s end.

The meteor shower’s radiant in the constellation Orion (Image rendered by Stellarium)

But manage your expectations as the Moon—which the night before has reached its Full phase—will be up in the sky for the entire night. Its brightness will reduce the chances of you catching a meteor.

As per In-The-Sky.Org, the ideal area in the sky to look for meteors is “not directly at the radiant itself, but at any dark patch of sky which is around 30–40° away from it.” The Orionid’s radiant is where it takes its name from—the constellation Orion.

All of the meteors associated with any particular shower appear to radiate from a common point on the sky (not drawn to scale).(Image Credit: in-the-sky.org)

October 25 – Mercury at greatest western elongation

Here’s another chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive Mercury. On October 25, the Solar System’s smallest planet will reach its highest point in the sky, shining brightly at mag -0.6. How to find it? Look at the western part of the sky at 6:10 in the morning, just 14° above the horizon.

Two days later, October 28, Mercury will reach its highest altitude of 15 degrees before being glared out of view by the Sun. This is a better time to observe it because it’s in the gibbous phase, or a phase where it reflects back more light.

Planet Mercury at its greatest western elongation as shown by Stellarium.

October 29 – Venus at greatest eastern elongation

Venus caps off October with its glorious brightness at mag -4.4. Catch our planet’s twin in the sky at its peak altitude of 30° above the horizon, just right after sunset at 5:45 P.M. until it sets at 8:05 P.M.

Planet Venus at its greatest eastern elongation as shown by Stellarium.

Sunrise and Sunset times

October 1        06:14 ↑          18:09 ↓

October 31      06:28 ↑          17:43 ↓

The Al Wathba skies at summer dusk. Image taken by Al Sadeem Observatory’s owner and co-founder, Thabet Al Qaissieh.

The Moon’s Phases

October 6 – New Moon

October 13 – First Quarter

October 20 – Full Moon

October 29 – Last Quarter


Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events 2021. (n.d.). Retrieved from Sea and Sky: www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2021.html

Calendar of Astronomical Events. (n.d.). Retrieved from In-The-Sky.org: http://in-the-sky.org/newscal.php?year=2021&month=10&maxdiff=6 #datesel

Sunrise and sunset times in Abu Dhabi, October 2021. (n.d.). Retrieved from timeanddate.com: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/united-arab-emirates/abu-dhabi?month=10&year=2021