A newly discovered comet which has been delighting stargazers this month is set to make its closest approach to earth tonight.

But people are being urged to catch the comet while they can as, after a succession of appearances throughout July, it is not due to visit the solar system for another 6,800 years.

The existence of the comet was only confirmed earlier this year when it was discovered by, and named after, Nasa's spacecraft Neowise.

Emily Kramer of the Neowise science team said: "The fact that we can see it is really what makes it unique.

"It's quite rare for a comet to be bright enough that we can see it with the naked eye or even with just binoculars.

"The last time we had a comet this bright was Comet Hale-Bopp back in 1995 and 1996."

With the comet set to be making its closest approach to earth tonight, it will be at its brightest and is likely to be visible to the naked eye.

The Royal Astronomical Society has given advice to anyone aiming to see the comet, with a diagram showing it just below the Big Dipper constellation at this time of the month.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: The Perseid meteor shower over from Noss Head, Caithness, Scotland, few miles to the east from Wick. Looking north into the Sinclair's Bay, in the early hours of Thursday 13 August 2015.

It will be visible after sunset.

The society stated: "To find the comet, make sure you have a clear northern horizon unobstructed by tall buildings, and ideally away from major sources of light pollution.

"If you have them, use a pair of binoculars to look for the bright haze of the comet, and the fainter tails.

"There are reports of people being able to see it with the naked eye under good conditions, but some optical aid will always improve the view."

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The society also explained that comets are "icy rocky bodies, typically mountain-sized, that spend most of their time far from the sun".

"Neowise was last in the inner solar system 4,500 years ago and its present passage through the inner solar system has changed its orbit, so it will not return for another 68 centuries," a spokesman said.