HERE is the weekly Skywatch from Stuart Atkinson.

Remember how I told you all recently to keep an eye open for the northern lights because the Sun is very active at the moment?

Well, last Monday evening there was a brief but really big display which was visible right across Cumbria.

Was it visible from Kendal? Unfortunately, no.

There is now so much light pollution in Kendal, caused by the exterior lights on its hotels, pubs, sports and storage facilities and supermarkets that even though I was up at the castle I saw nothing, the sky was just white.

It's getting worse and worse, and unfortunately it means that the next time there's a big astronomical event like a bright comet, or a big meteor shower, it won't be visible from the Auld Grey Town.

A great shame.

Fortunately there are some things up there bright enough to shine through the light pollution - planets, and at the moment two planets are very bright in our night sky.

As soon as it gets dark you'll see the planet Jupiter shining high in the south east, looking like a bright blue-white star.

Over to Jupiter's left, and lower in the sky, you'll see a bright orange star. This is actually the planet Mars, and it's unusually bright at the moment because it is close to Earth.

It was at its best on Dec 1st, and is fading now, but only very slowly, and it will remain a strikingly-bright object in the evening sky for many weeks to come yet.

And talking about Mars, very early on the morning on December 8th something very rare is going to happen which involves the red planet.

If you go outside after sunset on the previous evening, the 7th, you'll see the Full Moon shining very close to Mars, and it will get closer and closer to it throughout the night until, at o4:55 the following morning, the Moon will actually move in front of and cover Mars, a kind of eclipse we call an "occultation".

Mars will reappear from behind the Moon an hour later, by which time they will be low in the west. 

This will be fascinating to watch in binoculars, but you'll see it with the naked eye too.

Just be aware that all this will happen when the Moon and Mars are quite low in the sky so if you have any buildings, trees or hills around you they might stop you from seeing it.