SO, HERE we are, 2019, and as was the case at the end of 2018 all the action is taking place in the morning sky at the moment, writes STUART ATKINSON.

For a couple of months now early risers have been treated to the sight of the planet Venus shining brightly in the south east in the hours before dawn, looking like a stunning silvery-white spark that remains visible to the naked eye long after the last star has winked out of view. Venus is losing some height now, and is a little closer to the horizon each morning, but over the next couple of weeks it will have company in the pre-dawn sky - the huge planet Jupiter will be joining it.

From this weekend the two planets will be visible together in the south east from around 6am, looking like two bright stars. They're still quite far apart, but every morning will appear a little closer together, with Jupiter sliding up towards much brighter Venus from its lower left. Be aware that if you have any trees, buildings or hills in that direction they will hide the planets from your view so you may need to head off to somewhere with a better view to the south east if you want to see them - but it will be worth it, especially if you have a pair of binoculars to let you zoom in on Jupiter and spot some of its family of more than 70 moons.

A date to put in your diary or circle on your calendar: January 21. Why? Because there's going to be a lovely total eclipse of the Moon in the small hours of that morning before sunrise, so you might like to make plans accordingly; the eclipse will be happening between 3.30am and 7am so it might be an idea to put in a holiday form at work for that day.