This is a great time for planet-spotting - if you don't have huge fells or tall trees on your skyline, and don't mind staying up late.

You won't need a telescope to see any of these planets, they're all clearly visible to the naked eye.

If you go out at midnight on the next clear night and look to the south east you'll see a very bright star low in the sky in that direction.

This star is actually the planet Jupiter and it's currently brighter than anything else in that part of the sky so you can't miss it.

If you have a pair of binoculars handy, look at Jupiter through them and you'll see some much fainter, pin-prick stars close to it, in a straight line.

These are some of Jupiter's many moons.

Look to Jupiter's right, and not too far away you'll see another quite bright star, shining on its own, with a yellow-white hue.

This is the planet Saturn, famous of course for its rings, but you'll need a telescope to see those, as the binoculars most people have aren't powerful enough.

Having seen Jupiter and Saturn look to the lower left of Jupiter and you'll see a bright orange-coloured star very low in the east, just scraping the treetops.

This is the planet Mars, and if you look closely you'll see it is shining a hand's width or so to the right of a knot of silvery blue stars.

This is the famous "Seven Sisters" or Pleiades star cluster.

While you're planet spotting, please keep an eye on the northern sky.

The Sun is extremely active at the moment, throwing off a lot of solar flares which can trigger displays of the northern lights.

Look for a pink or green glow to the north - you might be lucky.