AS MAY drifts towards June the sky doesn't really get dark in the evening now, writes STUART ATKINSON. It gets darker, certainly, and the brightest stars are still visible, and a few planets too, and the misty trail of the Milky Way can be seen airbrushed across the sky from a really dark sky location, but a starry black sky won't be available to us again now until the end of August.

It's going to be another couple of weeks until the first display of noctilucent clouds, or NLC, but while we wait the International Space Station (ISS) is visible in our sky. You'll have to get up very early or stay up very late to see it at its best because it will be crossing the sky at its highest during the small hours before dawn. But it will be worth making the effort to get out of bed and see it because seeing it drifting across the sky like a bright star and thinking "There are people on that...!" is always exciting and humbling.

The good news is you don't need a telescope or even a pair of binoculars to see the space station, it will be clearly visible to the naked eye as a bright star moving across the sky, perfectly silently, at about the same speed as an airplane. All you will have to do is go out a few minutes before the times listed below, look to the west (not sure which way is west? Just remember the direction you usually see the Sun setting in from where you live and face that way) and then just wait. After a few minutes you'll see what looks like a star rising up from the horizon, on a path that will take it on an arc over towards the south - i.e. heading from right to left as you look at it. That star is actually the ISS. It will then move across the sky, heading east. How bright will it get? Well, on some passes the ISS is very high and very bright, but on others it is much fainter and barely scrapes the treetops. But it is always impressive, especially when you realise that you're looking at a huge construction that took over a decade of international collaboration between 17 countries to complete, and as you're watching it some of the people living, working, and sleeping on it might well be looking down at you at the same time.

Here are the dates and times for the next week: May 16: 00:29, 02:03 (Very bright!) and 03:39; 17th: 01:12, 02:48 (both very bright) and 22:44; 18th: 00:21, 01:58, 03:34 and 23:30 (all very bright)

19th: 01:07 (very bright), 02:43 and 22:40; 20th: 00:16, 01:52, 03:28 and 23:25; 21st: 01:01, 02:36 and 22:34.