The night sky will be pretty slow, meteor showerwise, for the next few months, especially for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.
However, there are a few key showers to look out for and the Alpha Centaurids are the next show on the agenda.
This meteor shower will peak just before Valentine’s Day, so let’s talk about love and the stars!
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What is a Meteor Shower?
Each known meteor shower rains down upon earth annually, lighting up the sky with bright trails of light, but where does it come from? These trails of light are from meteors which are made up of small pieces of space dust and debris that fall at high speeds through our planet’s atmosphere. Because these little pieces of space are falling so fast they leave behind brilliant streaks of sparkling light that can be observed by the naked eye here on Earth.
What You Need to Know About the Alpha Centaurids Meteor Shower
The Alpha Centaurids meteor shower is present from January 31st through February 20th, but its peak will be on February 8th. This meteor shower can be seen in the Southern Hemisphere…usually. This year it’s going to be difficult to see this particular shower. The Alpha Centaurids are a minor shower compared to some of the other, brighter showers we get annually, but this year in particular will be tricky to view since the peak date is so soon after the Pisces Full moon.
Full moons are when the moon is brightest in the night sky which often makes it challenging to see other, farther away celestial objects. The moon will be at 96% brightness on February 8th, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to view this shower at all! Each day after the 8th the moon will be slowly shrinking in appearance, so you should have more luck around the 14th of the month. This will be a low sitting shower, so those who live on the West coast in any Southern hemisphere countries have a much better shot at seeing it.
Centaurus and Alpha Centauri
The Alpha Centaurids meteor shower is located in the Centaurus constellation, one of the oldest and brightest constellations mapped out by famed astronomer and astrologer Ptolemy. The radiant point for this meteor shower is the 3 star system Alpha Centauri, one of which–Proxima Centauri–happens to be the closest star to our sun!
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The name Centaurus comes from the Greek mythological creature, a half horse half man. Sagittarius is another constellation named for centaurs, and the most famed of all centaurs, Chiron, is the namesake for a celestial body as well. In fact, Chiron is the first discovered object in an entirely new classification of celestial bodies which are now known as centaurs. The astronomical centaurs are a cross between an asteroid and a comet, sharing a certain amount of duality with their Greek namesakes.
Valentines Day and Centaurus: when 2 become 1
Being so closely related to the mythos of the centaur, this time of year is a reminder that something new is born when two come together as one. Whether you have a romantic partner or not, this Valentine’s Day–under the Alpha Centaurids meteor shower–is the perfect time to set an intention of self love.
February 14th, AKA Valentine’s Day is arguably the best night to go out and see this minor meteor shower. This holiday is all about love, and traditionally many think of this holiday as purely romantic, but love comes in many shapes and forms. Self love can even be embraced on this holiday, and that’s exactly what the Alpha Centaurids meteor shower is all about.
Half horse and half man, the centaur dances between the world of civility and animalistic impulse. The stories of centaurs often have to do with bloodshed and war, but the most famous of all centaurs was actually a healer and teacher. Chiron, abandoned by his mother, was raised away from the centaurs by the god Apollo. He was taught philosophy and music, and was the inventor of medicine. He was never accepted by the centaurs, and yet never fully embraced as a god. His story shows us the perils of living a life divided in two.
Reflecting upon the myths of Chiron we can also use this meteor shower as a time to embrace self love. What would happen if you embraced all parts of yourself, even the ones that seem to exist in contradiction to one another?
Chiron in Your Chart
The centaur Chiron exists in all of our charts and it tells us about our deepest pain as well as our healing gift. Check out the list below to see what your Chiron placement says about you, and be sure to look up a Chiron calculator if you don’t know yours already!
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Aries: you struggle with being too independent; your healing gift is the ability to get yourself out of any tough situation
Taurus: you struggle with feeling worthy; your healing gift is the ability to find value in the small stuff
Gemini: you struggle with using your voice; your healing gift is being a great listener
Cancer: you struggle to feel worthy of love; your healing gift is in your ability to love deeply
Leo: you struggle with feeling seen in truth by others; your healing gift is your ability to see the beauty in others
Virgo: you struggle with the idea that you are broken and need to be fixed; your healing gift is quite literally healing. Virgo is often the sign associated with Chiron.
Libra: you struggle to feel whole and complete without the love and validation of a partner; your healing gift is your ability to mediate conflict
Scorpio: you fear death and change above all else; your healing gift lies in your ability embrace the darker aspects of life
Sagittarius: you struggle with feeling stuck in one place for too long; your healing gift is your ability to live in the moment
Capricorn: you struggle with the fear that you will never be good enough; your healing gift lies in your ability to preserve
Aquarius: you struggle with feeling like the perpetual outsider looking in; your healing gift lies in your ability to see patterns and connections that others do not
Pisces: you struggle to feel inspired or hopeful for the future; your healing gift is both art and empathy