THE splendid evening Parade of Planets we have all been enjoying over the past month or so is now coming to an end. Mars and Saturn are still hanging in there, visible as reasonably bright stars low in the south west after sunset, but Mercury is too close to the Sun to be seen now, and Jupiter is struggling to be seen through the twilight.
As it never really gets dark at this time of year, only the brightest stars can be seen. One of the most interesting is the red giant star Antares, which can be found very low in the south around midnight. Antares means ‘Rival of Mars, and you'll notice it is a very orange/red colour when you spot it. It is 600 light years away, and so huge it would easily swallow up Mars if put in our own Sun's place.
We've seen no major displays of noctilucent clouds yet, but keep looking; there must be one soon, surely?
Stuart Atkinson, Eddington AS of Kendal