Tonight is the best chance for star gazers to catch a glimpse of Comet 46P – aka the Christmas comet – in the night skies above York.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen will be close enough and bright enough to be visible with the naked eye from a dark spot.

It’s been visible for a few days from a telescope or with good binoculars, and will remain in view for another week or so – but tonight is the best chance for those of us who don’t have any special viewing equipment.

Wirtanen passes the earth every five or so years, but this is the closest it will be for a few decades, at about 7,320,000 miles away (that's 30 times the distance to the moon). It's the 10th closest comet to pass the Earth and will appear as a green-blue light in the sky.

To see it, find Orion, the archer, and follow the line of his arm through the centre of the bow diagonally right and up. You should see two stars close together that form part of Taurus, and comet 46P/Wirtanen will be just underneath it.

You can see for yourself how the sky should look at the time of night you want at the amazing – change your location, the time and search 46P in the lower search box.

Tonight is also expected to be the peak of the annual Geminids meteor shower – look to the left of Orion and up. These are best seen at around 2am in the morning but you may well catch a shooting star or two earlier than that.

Experts recommend you let your eyes get accustomed to the dark before you try to spot the comet. Apps like Sky View, Night Sky or Star Chart can help you work out where to look, but once you know, don’t be tempted to keep checking your phone.

Photographer Ollie Taylor took these amazing images earlier in the month having read about it in the summer. He said: “Although it will be closest around the 16th, the forecast for the UK shows cloud cover kicking in after tomorrow and hindering it, so I decided to get out and get it whilst I could.

Ollie, who runs landscape astropotography workshops across the UK and Europe, flew home from Iceland to try and capture the comet.

“It does not have a tail like Hayley’s comet, instead just a greenish glow picked out via the camera sensor.”

Find out more about Ollie’s workshops at