February Meteor Showers: Virginids, Hydraids, and Centaurids

Get ready, get set, well, don’t get out in that cold, wintery night too fast. These three February meteor showers are so low on the hourly visible rate that it was a surprise to me they popped up in my research at all!

Now since there are three very different meteor showers to talk about, we’ll just touch upon the basics of each one:

The Virginids in Virgo
Timeframe
End of January to end of beginning of February (peak: February 4th).
Rate of meteors
Less than one per hour, but since Virgo can remain in our night sky and early morning sky, the window to star gaze is open for awhile.
Where to look
Above the southern horizon, within the Virgo constellation but also between it and the Bootes constellation.
Namesake
Spanning centuries of mythology, the ‘Virgin’ or Virgo constellation represents many goddesses of harvest and fertility, and depending on what your sources say, of wisdom and justice, too.

The Hydraids in Hydra
Timeframe
Beginning of February to middle of February (peak: February 7th).
Rate of meteors
Less than one per hour, but much better chances of seeing more than the Centaurids.
Where to look
Above the southern horizon, within the Hydra constellation, but also between Corvus, Crater, and Sextans.
Namesake
Hydra, not Hydrus, represents the female water snake (and the latter represents the male water snake and can be found below its larger counterpart).

The Centaurids in Centaurus
Timeframe
Beginning of February to middle of February (peak: February 8th).
Rate of meteors
Less than one per hour, and the window is but a few hours.
Where to look
Just above the southern horizon we’ll see the top of the Centaurus constellation, again, for just a couple of hours well before dawn.
Namesake
Centaurus represents the half man, half horse creature, and sometimes specifically the only immortal centaur, Chiron.

virginids-hydraids-centauridsView the image in full size here. This image was created in Stellarium.

Let’s hope we’ll have some clear early morning skies to view a few meteors here or there. I’ll remind everyone I live in Vermont, so this information is based on my location. For those living south of the Northeast Kingdom and closer to the equator, you’ll have a much better window to catch these shooting stars!

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2 thoughts on “February Meteor Showers: Virginids, Hydraids, and Centaurids

  1. Wow. This is a great rundown. I usually don’t try to hard to see meteor showers. It’s usually too bright where I live (and the astronomers always schedule them for so late in the night! 🙂 ) but I might check these out if the sky cooperates. Thanks for the nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

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