By the last week of May the Sun is setting after 9pm BST and the nights are once again becoming short - with twilight lasting well into late evening.

There are three defined types of twilight - civil, nautical and astronomical.

From May 22, astronomical twilight persists throughout the night and will do so for about the next two months.

Venus is a brilliant object in the West during the late evening and with a clear horizon can be seen as late as midnight this month.

Through binoculars or a small telescope it shows a half phase.

Mars is in the same part of the sky as Venus, to the left of the ‘Twin Stars’ of Gemini and these four objects will be joined by a young crescent Moon on May 23, best seen at around 10pm (see map).

Full Moon this month is on the night of May 5 and 6, and is now much lower in the sky than during the winter, staying less than 20 degrees altitude above the southern horizon all night.

NASA has announced the crew of the Artemis II mission to the Moon, which is due to launch in November 2024.

Although the crew of four (three men and one woman) will not land on the Moon, they will fly around it, becoming the first humans to leave low Earth orbit since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Artemis III is due to land on the Moon.

Whilst private companies are increasingly involved in space launches, it is only NASA that so far has successfully taken humans beyond low Earth orbit, using the Saturn 5 rocket system for the Apollo missions and now the Space Launch System, with which NASA aims to build the first Moon base and the first Moon-orbiting space station.