The night sky is particularly exciting this new year, with the planetary conjunction this weekend and a ‘super blue blood moon’ to follow later in January.

If you can bear to wake up early (or stay up late) don’t miss watching Mars and Jupiter cross in front of each other at 3.37am GMT on Sunday morning (January 7).

The skies over London should be clear (a miracle!) and if you can make your way to somewhere with as little light pollution as possible, you should get lucky.

Royal Observatory Greenwich said: “A little before dawn, Jupiter and Mars will be very close in the night sky, about one fifth of the width of your little finger apart from each other, when you hold your finger out at arm's length.”

Richmond Park is one of the few ‘dark spots’ in London, but since these planets are rather bright, any park should suffice.

Be sure you’re on top of a hill with no obstruction to the horizon, as the planets will only reach an altitude of 22 degrees above the southern horizon.

This celestial event won’t happen again until March 2020 – which doesn’t seem that long away – but when you consider that it will probably* be another one hundred years until London has a cloudless sky, tonight really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

How can you tell what is a star and what is a planet?

Stars often visibly ‘twinkle’ in the night sky because they are further away; the Earth's atmosphere causes the starlight to get slightly bent as it travels. Planets usually do not appear to twinkle because they are much closer. Since we're in the capital, make sure that twinkle isn’t a plane!

Do I need a telescope?

Experienced stargazers recommend using binoculars, but you can often see Mars and Jupiter with the naked eye because they are so bright - Mars even looks slightly reddish.

Venus is another very bright planet, even visible in daytime – earning it the nickname ‘the morning star’ (yes it’s a planet, never mind).

Did you know?

GMT stands for Greenwich Mean Time – named for the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London

*No actual statistics used