ASTRONOMERS from the region say they have one of the UK's first images of the so-called 'Comet of the Century'.

The comet - whose formal title is Comet C/2012 S1 ISON - is currently making its way around the sun and was first discovered by Russian astronomers in September last year.

It was captured at Kielder Observatory, in Northumberland, by observatory director Gary Fildes and volunteer Neil Sanders.

They worked for two nights using Kielder’s state of the art 16ins Paramount mounted telescope to capture the shot.

Gary Fildes said: “The whole astronomy world is waiting to see what ISON becomes, there has been much talk of it being the comet of the century or even the millenium. ISON will hopefully survive its journey around the sun without burning up and we all have our fingers crossed it reaches its potential as it would be an amazing sight.”

Neil Sanders added: “We’re very pleased to have imaged ISON. You can clearly see the tail of the comet in the image and we’re all hoping for much more in December and January. It’s thanks to the equipment we have at Kielder which is there for the public to enjoy the skies that we got this shot before anyone else.”

It is thought ISON could match the brightest comets ever observed and it should become a naked eye object in the winter of 2013 and into the first months of 2014.

Predicting comets is a difficult task so astronomers around the world will be hoping for a bright show before the comet dims as it leaves the sun and earth behind.

For more information about the Kielder Observatory, which enjoys England's darkest skies at Kielder Water and Forest Park and is open to the public, visit the website