How we perceive the move into autumn much depends on the weather each year, but astronomical changes are known to a high degree of accuracy thanks to the development of scientific understanding built over many centuries.

This year the Autumn Equinox takes place on the morning of September 23. At the Autumn Equinox hours of day and night are broadly equal across the planet.

The Sun is setting at the North Pole and will not shine again there for six months, whereas it is rising again at the South Pole.

For us in the UK and across the northern hemisphere, the Autumn Equinox marks the start of the period when hours of night are longer than hours of daylight, lasting until next spring.

Saffron Walden Reporter: The full map of the night's skyThe full map of the night's sky (Image: North Essex Astronomical Society)

Astronomers have long associated the visibility of star constellations in the evening period with the seasons.

Looking to the east in the now darker skies of late evening in September (see map) the ‘autumn’ constellations are on show.

High up in the East is the familiar ‘W’ shape of Cassiopeia, with the constellations of Perseus and Auriga below that.

Just rising is the constellation of Taurus which includes the Pleiades star cluster. If you have not seen the Pleiades before, Jupiter, which is unmissable as it will be so bright, is a handy guide this month.

The Pleiades (marked on the map inside the blue circle) can be found 15 degrees to the left of Jupiter.

The cluster at first appears as a hazy patch to the unaided eye but in binoculars is revealed as a spectacular grouping of stars.

The cluster is very young in astronomical terms and relatively close to us, being about 400 light years away.

Billions of years ago it is thought our own Sun was formed in a similar star cluster, whose members have long since drifted apart.

During the late evening of September 4, Jupiter and the waning gibbous Moon will rise close together.

Saturn remains well placed and in mid-month is due south at about 11pm.

In the morning sky, Venus reaches its brightest on the 19th, rising in the East in the pre-dawn period.

By the end of the month Venus has moved far enough from the Sun to be visible in a dark sky and will appear very bright, best seen around 5am.

Full moon is on the September 29 and will be notably higher in the sky than the low summer full moons.