Are you ready to witness the beauty of the night sky? This Wednesday (Feb. 8), skywatchers in the Southern Hemisphere will have the chance to see the Alpha-Centaurids meteor shower in all its glory. This annual meteor shower is an incredible opportunity to witness the power of nature, and the best part is that you don’t need any special equipment to view it.
The Alpha-Centaurids meteor shower is caused by the Earth passing through debris left behind by a comet or an asteroid as it orbits the sun. This debris enters Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds as great as 44 miles per second (71 kilometers per second) and typically burns up at altitudes of around 43 to 62 miles (70 to 100 kilometers) above Earth, creating bright streaks or even explosive fireballs in the night sky.
The radiant point of the Alpha-Centaurids meteor shower is located around right ascension 13h50m and declination 58 degrees S, and is high above the horizon. This means that the most meteors will be visible at 5:00 a.m. local time. However, viewers in Northern Hemisphere regions will miss out on the peak of the shower, as the radiant point of this particular meteor shower never rises above the horizon.
The Alpha-Centaurids is a minor meteor shower, meaning that even at its maximum activity, it will still only produce between 2 and 10 meteors per hour. Unfortunately, the moon is still moving from its full moon phase, making it difficult to see the meteors in the night sky.
If you’re hoping to catch Alpha-Centaurids meteors, our guides for the best telescopes and best binoculars are a great place to start. If you’re looking to snap photos of the night sky, check out our guide on how to photograph the moon, as well as our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.
So, don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to witness the beauty of the night sky! Keep looking for Alpha-Centauri meteors until Feb. 15, and if you’re lucky enough to snap some photos, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.