I HOPE some of you saw the International Space Station last week? writes STUART ATKINSON. I managed to catch a lovely pass from up at Kendal Castle, when the ISS arced high and gracefully above the castle ruins, looking like a wonderfully-bright star, before dropping down towards the east again. I've been watching it for many years now and it never gets boring.

You might remember how the planet Mars was a stunning sight in the sky last summer. It looked like a red flare low in the south during the evening, so bright it was impossible to miss. Mars is a lot fainter and a lot less impressive now, but it's still there, low in the west after sunset - and it's got company.

Finding Mars is easy. All you have to do is look for the distinctive hourglass pattern of Orion above the south western horizon, then look a little way over to its right. You'll see Mars lower in the west, looking like a modest red star. Look more closely and you'll see that there's a V shape of stars to the left of the Red Planet, and a small cluster of stars to the planet's right, looking a little like a miniature version of the Big Dipper. These are the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters respectively, and over the next week or so Mars will appear to move between them. If you can't pick them - or Mars - out with just your naked eye, scan that area of the sky with a pair of binoculars and they'll definitely pop out into view.

During twilight next Tuesday (April 9) we'll be able to see Mars shining just to the right of a beautiful crescent Moon - weather permitting, of course.

Meanwhile, on Friday, local author and astronomer Stuart will be talking about the wonders of the night sky and about the story behind his new children's book, A Cat's Guide To The Night Sky, at Waterstones in Kendal.

During the event Stuart will explain how to see stars, constellations and planets in the night sky. He'll also talk about this summer's 50th anniversary of the first Apollo Moon landing and look forward to the day when astronauts travel to Mars. Stuart will also be showing some of his own private collection of meteorites - real rocks from space - and passing around a mystery object too.

The event starts at 2pm; full details and tickets are available from Waterstones.