IF YOU can remember back that long you might recall that I commented - alright, moaned - last August that the 2017 Noctilucent cloud season had been worse than rubbish, writes STUART ATKINSON.

Over June and July we had two, perhaps three, very small displays of NLC, and only missed a couple more because of bad weather. So we went into this season with very little optimism. However, I'm happy (and amazed, to be honest!) that only halfway through this season we have already enjoyed half a dozen decent displays of these beautiful, silvery-blue clouds, and another couple have been hidden behind cloud.

This suggests that there's a lot more NLC activity going on 'up there' than last year, which is great news - and might be a good sign, too. Typically the largest and most dramatic displays occur during the second half of the NLC season, so as we move into July we are hopefully not too long away from a proper NLC storm that will fill the northern sky with tendrils, whirls and swirls of electric blue light. If you want a heads up when NLC are in the sky you can follow NLC watchers on social media, but if they're clouded out or asleep, that will do you no good. The only way to guarantee seeing a display is to get out and look for it yourself.

NLC aren't the only things visible in the night sky right now. Mars is now strikingly bright in the east after midnight, and getting brighter every day. Over to its right, Saturn is a fainter, golden star, with bright blue-white Jupiter already low in the west as darkness falls.