WHAT a wonderful summer so far, writes STUART ATKINSON. I'm still not convinced I'm not dreaming this: a heatwave that shows no signs of ending, England in a semi-final of the World Cup for the first time since the Earth formed (ok, not quite that long, but it feels like it) and a beautiful display of noctilucent clouds painting the northern sky with tendrils, wisps and whirls of electric blue light after midnight on almost every night. Unlike last year's, and the year's before, the 2018 noctilucent cloud season has been fantastic, with some truly beautiful displays. Although we're still waiting for a full-on storm, the most recent, overnight last Saturday, was one of the most beautiful in years, and we still have most of July left.

If you haven't managed to see any noctilucent clouds yet I'm sure you've seen Mars. It is now rising in the south east before midnight, looking like a bright orange star. By 2am it is reasonably high in the south and brighter than everything else in the sky apart from the Moon. It's not at its best yet - when it is at opposition at month's end it will be a glorious sight - but it is still a very impressive sight.

We're now only three weeks away from the total lunar eclipse of July 27. Unfortunately Kendal will not be a good place to see it; because we're in a dip, surrounded by hills, we will miss all but the very end of the eclipse. Local eclipse watchers are making plans to travel to places higher up and with lower eastern horizons to see as much of the eclipse as possible. More about this event nearer the time. For now, enjoy seeing Mars at its best for 15 years, and keep an eye out for those noctilucent clouds.