STARGAZERS on the Isle of Wight should be training their telescopes or binoculars on a rare spectacle in the night sky — the 12P/Pons-Brooks comet — which won't reappear for another 71 years after it has passed.

It's a real once-in-a-lifetime treat for stargazers.

All you'll need to see the 'horned' comet, besides fair weather and a little luck, are good binoculars or a telescope and sky map to help guide you to where this celestial visitor happens to be. 

Isle of Wight County Press: The comet photographed from Cowes.The comet photographed from Cowes. (Image: Lynda Wolstenholme)

Cowes resident, Lynda Wolstenholme, managed to capture the 12P/Mons-Brooks comet from her garden this week, saying: "It's around for a little longer before it departs — and won't be back for another 71years."

The comet is bigger than Mount Everest and is made of dust and ice, which means it leaves a bright green tail behind it as it is heated by the Sun.

From now, through to the end of the month and into April, 12P/Pons-Brooks will be visible in the early evening sky, within the constellation of Andromeda the Princess, to the upper left of the Great Square of Pegasus and hovering about 20 degrees above the west-northwest horizon at the end of evening twilight. 

One of the best times to spot the comet with your naked-eye will be on the evenings of March 30 and 31, when it will be passing very close to the second-magnitude star, Hamal.

With the aid of a good sky chart and a dark sky, it should be readily accessible in binoculars.

Thanks to Lynda Wolstenholme for her photos.