IF YOU enjoy looking at planets in the night sky then you'll have to get up very early - or stay up very late - to see the best ones visible at the moment, writes STUART ATKINSON. Mars is visible low in the north west after mid-evening, but it's now so faint that unless you know exactly which star it is between the V-shaped Hyades cluster and its neighbouring mini Big Dipper-shaped Pleiades cluster you won't pick it out. However, in the wee small hours after midnight two other planets are bright enough to be immediately obvious to the naked eye.

If you look to the south east at around 2am on the next clear morning - an hour after Mars has set in the north west - you'll see a very bright blue-white star just above the horizon in that direction - that's actually the planet Jupiter. By 3.30am Jupiter will have climbed higher in the sky and will have moved more to the south, and you'll see a second bright star low in the south. This will be Saturn, fainter than Jupiter, and more of a yellow hue than Jupiter.

By 4.30am both planets will be well above the horizon and you'll be able to see the big differences in colour and brightness between the two. If you have a pair of binoculars handy you'll be able to see up to four of Jupiter's extended family of 70 or so moons looking like tiny pinpoint stars next to Jupiter, but unfortunately Saturn's famous rings are only visible through a telescope.