THIS coming weekend is a good one for planet spotters, because the Moon will slowly hopscotch its way towards, between and then past the planets Jupiter and Saturn, writes STUART ATKINSON. So if you've always wanted to see a planet in the night sky but wasn't sure which of the bright lights up there was a planet and which was a star, this is your chance!

On Thursday evening (September 5) the First Quarter Moon will be shining to the right of the planet Jupiter. Jupiter itself will look like a very bright blue-white star low in the south west after sunset. The following evening (Friday, September 6) the Moon will have moved to the left and will be shining to the upper left of Jupiter and to the right of fainter, more golded-hued, Saturn. On Saturday evening (September 7) the Moon will have moved further eastwards and will be shining close to Saturn, on its right. By Sunday evening the not-far-from-Full Moon will have moved even further eastwards and will be shining to Saturn's left.

You won't need a telescope or even a pair of binoculars to see these close encounters of the planetary kind, just your naked eyes will do, but if you have binoculars they will show you features on the Moon's disc and also some of Jupiter's extended family of moons. The best views will be had from dark sky locations, out in the countryside.