WE HAVE had an outstanding noctilucent cloud season this year (as I predicted) but activity has definitely tailed off now, and it is unlikely - but not impossible - that any more major displays of these beautiful electric blue clouds will now grace our summer skies, writes STUART ATKINSON. Having said that it's possible that we might sneak in a couple more minor displays before the season ends in early August, so do keep an eye on the northern sky around midnight on any clear night between now and then, just in case.

At this time of year, as the nights draw in we look forward to seeing more shooting stars than usual because the Perseid shower peaks around August 12 every year. Unfortunately, this year's peak coincides with a big, bright Moon, so we won't see as many as we would do if the sky was Moon free, but between now and then we will definitely see more shooting stars zipping across the sky than usual. Activity is picking up already, which is a good sign.

So, over the next couple of weeks keep an eye out for Perseid meteors after dark. Perseids can be very bright, and slow moving. The brightest can be seen from a town or city, because they really catch the eye, but you'll see lots more if you can get away from light pollution to somewhere with a really dark sky. Go out after midnight on a clear night, look to the east and just wait. Eventually you will see a shooting star skip across the sky.

While you're out watching the shooting stars don't forget to take a look at Jupiter and Saturn, the gas giant worlds, which are currently visible low in the south after dark, looking like stars roughly an arm's length apart.