WELL, the ever-reliable Cumbrian weather conspired to prevent us from seeing any of last week's solar eclipse, writes STUART ATKINSON. Across the US the eclipse was total, with the Moon totally blocking out the Sun. It was a spectacular sight, and you probably saw it on the TV. Here in the UK we would have been able to see a tiny bite out of the bottom of the Sun just before sunset, but with Cumbria under 100 per cent cloud there was no chance. Hopefully, we'll have better luck during the next partial solar eclipse visible from Cumbria - on June 10, 2021.

This is a great time to go right back to basics and find the Plough, or the Big Dipper in the sky. At this time of the year you can see the famous star pattern (which is actually an 'asterism' and not a full constellation) low in the north west after dark, actually looking like a big saucepan in the sky. At other times of the year it is balanced on its handle or high overhead, making it harder to see. Look above it, a little to the right and you'll see the Little Dipper too, much smaller and made of fainter stars than its celestial cousin.

Insomniacs and early risers can currently enjoy the sight of Venus blazing in the east before dawn - a spectacular morning star brighter than anything else in the sky(apart from the Moon). As for other planets, there's not much to see to be honest, so just enjoy gazing at Venus before sunrise.