THIS coming week will be a perfect time for any readers out there with no planet spotting experience whatsoever to find not one but two planets in the sky, writes STUART ATKINSON. Why? Because the Moon is going to approach, jump between and then pass by the planets Jupiter and Saturn, making finding them almost embarrassingly easy. All you'll need is a clear sky, an observing site that's as dark as possible (you'll be able to see this from your garden but it will look so much better from out of town) and a southern sky that's not obscured by trees, hills or buildings, because the Moon and planets will be low in the sky and might be hidden behind things like that.

So, first of all, look for the just-past-crescent Moon shining to the right of Jupiter on the evening of October 3. Jupiter will look like a star close to it. On the following evening (October 4) the Moon will have hopscotched further to the left and will lie almost exactly between Jupiter and Saturn, which will look like a gold-hued star to the Moon's left. After dark on October 5, the Moon will be much closer to Saturn, shining to its lower right. Finally, on the evening of October 6, the Moon will be found further over to Saturn's upper left. By this time it will have passed first quarter so it will be very bright, but you'll still be able to see both Jupiter and Saturn easily with the naked eye.

If the camera on your phone is good - and most are these days - why not try photographing any or all of these close encounters between the Moon and planets? It's always worth a try. Don't use your phone camera's flash though - no way it will be strong enough to illuminate something a billion miles away.