Cross your fingers for clear skies this coming weekend because we have a rare coming together – or 'conjunction' as astronomers call it – of the two planets which are closer to the Sun than we are, writes STUART ATKINSON.

Many Skywatch readers will have seen the planet Venus many times before.

It’s often visible as a bright, silvery-blue evening star shining high in the evening twilight, brighter than any star in the sky.

It’s an evening star at the moment but is still very low down in the north west after sunset; unfortunately, this makes it a lot harder to see than when it’s at its best.

At the moment Venus has company in the evening sky – the planet closest to the Sun, tiny Mercury, is visible a short distance away from it, shining at about 11pm from it to its upper left.

It’s a lot of fainter than Venus is, but still visible to the naked eye.

Unfortunately, this planetary pairing will be hard to see if your north west horizon features hills, trees or buildings.

The planets are so low that any obstructions in their direction will hide them.

But if your NW horizon is low, flat and clear of houses, trees or fells you need to start looking for the planets at about 9pm.

If your naked eye can’t pick them out then a quick scan of the sky low down will pop them into view, but you must only do this after the sun has finally set.

If you spot a bright star, low down, with a fainter star close by to its upper left, that’s how you know you have found them.

Good luck everyone.