DESPITE the poor weather, I hope some of you managed to at least catch a glimpse of the celestial 'close encounter' between Jupiter and Mars last week, writes STUART ATKINSON. On Sunday morning the two planets were less than half the width of the Full Moon apart, and looked beautiful before sunrise. They've moved apart now, but the show isn't quite over yet.

On Friday morning, if the sky is clear between 5am and 7am, we'll be able to see a really striking and attractive sight low in the south in the wee small hours before sunrise. Jupiter and Mars will be still shining quite close together in the sky, but before dawn tomorrow morning they will be joined by a beautiful crescent Moon.

You won't need a telescope to see this rare triple conjunction, it will be very easy to see with just the naked eye. Jupiter will be on the right end of the line of celestial objects, looking like a bright blue-white star. To the lower left of Jupiter you'll see Mars, redder and much fainter. To the lower left of Mars, on the other end of the line, you'll see a lovely waning crescent Moon, low down in the east. If the sky is clear you might see Earthshine on the Moon too - the dark part of the Moon's face glowing softly, purple-grey, illuminated by sunlight reflecting off our own Earth onto it.

By Saturday morning the Moon will have moved on, and the two planets will be even further apart, so cross your fingers for clear sky Friday morning.