WE ARE now at that time of year when the sky doesn't really get dark enough to see all but the brightest stars, STUART ATKINSON. There are still fascinating and beautiful things to see 'up there' though. Noctilucent clouds (or NLC) are only visible at this time of the year, appearing as whirls, swirls and tendrils of silvery blue low in the northern sky after midnight. The Moon is always worth a look at through a pair of binoculars, hanging low above the trees on balmy summer nights, too. The Milky Way is best seen in summer too, cutting the sky in half like a wide, faint smoke trail - but you'll only see that from somewhere with a really dark sky. Any light pollution around you will wash it from the sky.

Luckily there is something else visible after dark at the moment that not even light pollution can hide from our view - the planet Jupiter. If you go out on any clear night now over the summer and look to the south east as darkness is falling you'll see a bright star rising in that direction - this is the planet Jupiter. By midnight it will be higher in the south, strikingly bright.

As Professor Brian Cox has explained in his new television series, Jupiter is the largest world in our solar system - a huge, bloated ball of gas that could contain a thousand Earths. It also has an extended family of around 70 moons, some of which can be seen just through binoculars.

Jupiter is in the news at the moment because the famous Great Red Spot, a storm the size of Earth which has been raging for centuries, appears to be unravelling. Why? We don't know, but it's probably nothing to do with black monoliths.

So, next clear night take a look at Jupiter shining low in the south east after sunset, and as you see it glowing above the trees or fells, imagine a hurricane bigger than our whole planet being torn apart.