IF YOU are a user of social media and someone posts an 'alert' on your Facebook timeline or Twitter feed telling you to look out for a bright pass of the space station on Christmas Eve, which you can tell your kids is Santa setting off on his rounds, please ignore it. It's old and out of date information, from 2015 actually. Sadly, there's no opportunity to see the space station in our sky on Christmas Eve this year, so please don't drag your poor little ones outside into the bitter cold and wait for Santa to fly over because they'll see absolutely nothing and you might very possibly ruin Christmas for them.

What you will be able to see between December 21 and 23, weather permitting, is a beautiful crescent Moon with the dark portion of its face lit by the subtle, beautiful lavender glow of Earthshine. This is, as its name suggests, light bouncing off the Earth and onto the Moon, illuminating its dark area faintly. We only see Earthshine during the first few days of the lunar month; when the Moon's phase has moved past a slim crescent there is so much direct sunlight hitting the Moon it drowns out the much weaker Earthshine.

Earthshine is visible to the naked eye, but if you have a pair of binoculars they will really enhance your view. You'll see the subtle colours much more clearly, and be able to glimpse lunar features within it too.