Alpha Centaurids Meteor Shower
Being the annual meteor stream of February, Alpha Centaurids will grace the late-night sky by the end of this week. It will peak on Friday night, February 8, typically producing only about 6 bright meteors per hour. However, observers should be able to see more “shooting stars” because of the perfect viewing conditions this year. The peak coincides with the New Moon, which makes the skies ideal for checking out this modest meteor shower.
Alpha Centaurids should be visible only in Southern Hemisphere, because of its radiant, the point from which the meteors appear to originate. It lies just in 30 degrees from the south celestial pole, near the Alpha Centauri star system.
The best time for watching meteors is in the late evening around 10 p.m. through to the dawn when Alpha Centaurids will be right over your head. Skywatchers don’t need any special equipment to see the falling meteors. They will appear to radiate from the area of south-east sky around the constellation of Centaurus.
The best rates will be seen when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. They can increase up to 20-30 meteors an hour and the only way to know for sure is to go outside and look up in the southeastern sky.