STUART Atkinson has been fascinated by astronomy and space exploration all his life. One of his earliest memories is of being at junior school in Cockermouth and watching live television coverage of Moon-walking Apollo astronauts on the school's 'big TV.' Inspired by the truly out of this world event he went on to learn about the night sky and became a serious stargazer in his teens, using his first telescope to observe the Moon, and planets - especially the planet Mars, which is one of his greatest interests.

Today, Stuart is a well-known and respected writer on all things astronomical. He writes six features each month for All About Space magazine, and contributes to the Society for Popular Astronomy’s publication. As well as a weekly column in The Westmorland Gazette, and a blog, The Road To Endeavour, which chronicles the mission of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, Stuart broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio Cumbria and is a sought after speaker.

Skywatcher Stuart has just has his ninth book published, A Cat’s Guide To The Night Sky, a children’s astronomy book which marks the 30th anniversary of his first tome, Journey Into Space, which was a huge success and published in 1988 by Puffin.

Stuart went on to pen more children’s astronomy and space books for publishers such as Kingfisher, Scholastic, AC Black and Belitha Press. He has also worked as an expert, consultant or editor on dozens of other books for numerous publishing houses, including Walker Books and Usborne Publishing; Stuart has actually been Usborne’s main astronomy and space flight consultant for the past 24 years.

Featuring a feline narrator, A Cat’s Guide To The Night Sky was inspired during a trip to a star camp at Kielder Forest. The Kielder camps are special events where amateur astronomers get together at a remote site to enjoy observing and photographing a night sky unspoiled by light pollution. It was late 2016, and Stuart took his cat, Peggy, a rescue cat who'd a tough life before being adopted by Stuart’s partner, Stella. While holding Peggy in his arms he noticed she was looking at the night sky, eyes darting from constellation to constellation. A classic 'light bulb moment followed as Stuart wondered if cats were as fascinated by the night sky as humans. After all, cats were often out all night, and from the tops of trees and tall buildings, often in very dark places, they would have a grandstand view of the night sky.

Stuart's book is a terrific, richly-illustrated, fun guide to the night sky, which explains to young readers how to identify stars, planets and constellations. There are star charts for each season, as well as advice on how to see the phases of the Moon, meteor showers and even the northern lights.

All seen through the starry-eyed gaze of fabulous planetary puss, Felicity.

As well as being a wonderfully informative and entertaining read, the book features many beautiful illustrations by accomplished artist Brendan Kearney.

Published by Laurence King and available at Waterstones and all major booksellers.