February is historically the slowest month for astronomy-related events but there’s one that is set to exclusively delight stargazers in Australia and other parts of the southern hemisphere. The α-Centaurid meteor shower (Alpha Centaurid), takes place from January 28 until February 21 every year and is expected to peak on February 8. Although considered one of the minor meteor showers of the year, around 6 to 10 meteors can be visible to the naked eye every hour, but only for those looking at southeastern skies. Astronomy lovers in the northern hemisphere will miss out because the meteors will appear from a south-easterly direction according to Astro Tourism WA.
Alpha Centaurid meteor shower
Meteors are bright streaks of light in the sky and occur when Earth passes through the trail of debris left by a comet or asteroid. This particular shower gets its name from the star Alpha Centauri. The higher the meteor shower is in the sky, the higher the chances of seeing the meteors.
For the best view, keep your eyes on the skies on February 8 and 9 during the early hours of the morning. Even better, you don’t need any equipment to see the meteor shower, just head out and find a dark sky location, ideally away from city lights and give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness.
This year’s Alpha Centaurid meteor shower is also close to the new moon, therefore providing the dark skies needed for ideal viewing conditions.
Learn more about the meteor shower here.