Jupiter rises at 1:20 a.m. on Thursday, followed by Mars at 3:34 a.m., and Saturn at 4:46 a.m.

Venus and Mercury can be seen near the western horizon that evening. At 8 p.m. March 18, place Venus in the center of the field of a pair of 7 x 50 binoculars. Mercury will be at 2 o’clock, and a sliver of the waxing crescent moon will be at 8 o’clock.

The waxing gibbous moon will be in the Beehive, Messier Object 44, on March 26. The object resembles a swarm of bees when seen through binoculars. This cluster of over 1,000 stars is also known as Praesepe, Latin for “manger,” from which two donkeys ate. The Chinese know it less affectionately as Tseih She Ke, or “Exhalation of Piled-up Corpses.”

March 20 marks the equinox, the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator — the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator — into the northern hemisphere.

On March 28, see if you can spot Uranus in binoculars right next to Venus on the western horizon. The second Blue Moon of 2018 (the second full moon in the month) will be on March 31.

Q&A

Q: I’ve seen the International Space Station moving across the night sky! Just how far away is it? — R.N., Canton

A: The ISS orbits above the Earth between 200 and 300 miles high. A better way to perceive this is to imagine the Earth as a 12-inch globe; the ISS would be circling less than ½ inch above the surface of that globe.

To ramp up this image, the moon would be a baseball about 30 feet away, and the sun a big house over two miles away!

Programs

The periodically updated The Universe at Large is presented at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at Hoover-Price Planetarium. The planetarium is included with admission to the museum. Children must be 5 years or older to attend.

The planetarium also offers an astronomy program for adults only on the first Monday of every month at 2 p.m. The Night Sky show is presented, followed by a 30- to 45-minute open lecture/discussion.

For more information, visit the planetarium’s blog on the museum’s website or call 330-455-7043.

David L. Richards is director of the Hoover-Price Planetarium at the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, Canton, www.mckinleymuseum.org. He can be reached at 330-455-7043, email hooverpriceplanetarium@hotmail.com or read his blog at https://hooverpriceplanetarium.wordpress.com/.