THE annual Orionid meteor shower will be reaching its peak on the evening of October 21/22, but please, please don't believe any of the hype you might read about it in the tabloids or online on social media, writes STUART ATKINSON. The shower will not be 'spectacular' and it certainly will not 'light up the sky' as some hacks are breathlessly predicting. The Orionids is not one of the year's best showers for a start, and this year the presence of a big, bright Moon in the sky around the time of the peak will mean we'll only see the brightest shooting stars, even if you live somewhere with a dark sky; if you live somewhere light-polluted you'll see even fewer.

But it will still be worth keeping an eye open for Orionids this coming weekend, because they can be bright enough to be seen through moonlight and light pollution, so head out after 11pm on the 21st (or if the sky's clear on the night either side of that try then, too), find somewhere dark, and after half an hour, when your eyes have adapted to the darkness, you just need to face the east and wait until a meteor dashes across the sky. Make a wish then if you like - it's never worked for me in all these years but you might have better luck.

A few hours before you head out to watch for Orionid meteors slicing across the sky be sure to go out at around 7pm to take a look at bright Jupiter, shining low in the south west, and fainter Saturn shining to its upper left. These two giant, distant worlds are slowly approaching each other in the sky, and are a little closer each night, though they move so slowly you won't notice any difference.