I've used wikipedia and found links on telescopes, amateur astronomy and star-hopping. I also have my own field guide to the stars, so I know what constellations are in the sky in early October, and what celestial objects (Andromeda Galaxy, a famous double star, Pleiades).
I'm assuming for my purposes that the moon won't come out until very late, so... I know all about constellation charts, but how would the astronomy buff know what planets are visible, at what time? A monthly gazeteer of planet motions! like an almanac, or somewhere online that I don't know about? The other guy might ask how the heck he knows all this, and I want to give him an answer. :-)
I'm thinking Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. Is it plausible for fictional purposes that all three of them would be in the sky (at a particular latitude) at the same hour, or would it be more realistic for a comment to be made, 'and so-and-so will rise later tonight. '
He'll have a tripod, that's important. Is there anything else to worry about? No problem with light pollution here.
Thanks in advance.
ETA: thanks for all your input!