I HAD expected by now to be writing about noctilucent cloud activity tailing off, as the 2019 Season approaches its end, but it's showing no signs of doing so, writes STUART ATKINSON. In fact, in the past week there have been two beautiful displays, including one of the best I've seen in the past five years, so it's definitely worth keeping an eye on the northern sky after 11pm on any clear nights between now and the start of August.

Remember, noctilucent clouds appear as bright streaks, tendrils and curls of grey-blue behind the dark 'normal' cloud, silhouetting them. Unlike the northern lights they don't swish and sway across the sky but rather just hang there in it, shining like a force field special effect from a science fiction film. You'll notice their shapes change over time, but not as you're looking at them.

But the NLC will be gone soon, and then what will we look at? Well, as we approach August the sky is now getting dark enough to see stars late in the evening and the Milky Way is visible around midnight when the sky is at its darkest. You won't see it from the middle of light polluted Kendal, Windermere or Ambleside, you'll need to be out in the countryside way from streetlights. Then you'll see the Milky Way as a broad, misty band of light cutting the sky in half, mottled with lighter and darker areas. Look at it through binoculars and you'll see the Milky Way is made up of countless thousands even millions of tiny, faint stars.