IF YOU buy this copy of the Westmorland Gazette on Thursday, cross your fingers for clear skies over the next few evenings because there will be something very pretty to see in the west after sunset, as the crescent Moon drifts between, and past, three naked eye planets, writes STUART ATKINSON.

On Thursday evening, as soon as the sky begins to darken after sunset, look for a bright star shining low in the sky to the south west. This is the planet Venus, currently on view as an 'evening star'. It's quite bright now, but will be a lot brighter by Christmas. Having found Venus, look a little more closely and you'll see a very, very thin crescent Moon close to Venus, on its right. Once you've found the Moon look a little further over to its right, and a little lower down, and you'll see a fainter star, which is actually the planet Jupiter. So, to recap, you'll have the crescent Moon shining between Venus and Jupiter. If any of these don't jump out at you a pair of binoculars will help you spot them. As the sky darkens the Moon and its two planetary companions will become brighter but will sink lower in the sky, so be quick.

The following evening, Friday, the Moon will have moved to the left of Venus, and will be a larger crescent and easier to find too. It will also now be shining to the lower right of the planet Saturn, with Venus and Jupiter down to its lower right. Unfortunately you can't see Saturn's famous rings with binoculars, you need a telescope of some kind.

If it's clear on Saturday night you'll see that the crescent Moon will have moved even further along its path, and will be shining to the upper left of a chain of three planets, Saturn, Venus and Jupiter, in that order.