Stargazers will be in seventh heaven when one of the most spectacular sights in the night sky becomes visible above Paisley.

And, to make the outlook even brighter, Buddies won't even need binoculars or telescopes to identify the celestial wanderer.

They'll see it all with the naked eye.

©Sky and Telescope

Comet Holmes, first discovered in 1892 by English amateur astronomer Edwin Holmes, has now come back into view during its seven-year orbit around the Sun.

And, during the next few weeks, it will be seen as a yellow-coloured star surrounded by a hazy cloud in the constellation Perseus, which begins its nightly journey in the north-east sky - that's in the Glasgow direction.

One man who'll have his head in the clouds while it's all happening will be top astronomer John Pressly, information officer at Coats Observatory in Paisley.

"What makes Comet Holmes unusual is that it literally brightened overnight, from a very faint object detectable only with a powerful telescope to an object visible to the naked eye," said Mr Pressly. "The comet has just become one million times brighter than it had been, most likely because of explosions within it.

"These explosions ejected a massive cloud of dust surrounding the centre. This dust cloud reflects sunlight, which is why we can see it so easily.

"A comet is like a dirty snowball, composed of dust and gas, which periodically orbits around our sun. Comets are believed to be the leftovers from the time that the planets formed and could even contain clues to the origins of life on our planet.

"The centre of the comet is known as the nucleus. As the comet nears the sun, it will start to melt, giving off dust and gas, which usually forms in a tail at the back of the comet, pointing away from the Sun."

Mr Pressly added: "Comet Holmes can be seen in the constellation of Perseus, which rises in the early evening and which should be high enough in the sky by 8pm for people to be able to find the comet.

"The easiest way to find it is to look for the distinctive W shape of the constellation Cassiopeia, high in the north-eastern sky. Perseus lies just below Cassiopeia.

"Comet Holmes looks different than the surrounding stars, shining with a constant, yellowish colour as opposed to the bluish twinkling light of the surrounding stars.

"At present, Comet Holmes is some 150 million miles from Earth and should stay at this distance as it orbits the Sun.

"The comet is visible to the naked eye, even with the heavily light polluted skies of Paisley.

"Through binoculars, it looks like a circular hazy cloud, very different from the background stars.

"In our telescope at the observatory, the nucleus should be visible as a faint point of light surrounded by a cloud of bright dust."

Buddies who want to see the comet at close quarters are being invited along to the observatory in Oakshaw Street West.

They'll get the chance when Mr Pressly and his colleagues at the observatory train their large telescope on the cosmic comet to allow visitors a chance to see for themselves the rare sky marvel.

The observatory will be open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, with last admission at 9pm. Entry is free and there is no need to book. Viewing is only possible on clear windless evenings.