The Draconid meteor shower will peak on the evening of Oct. 7 or 8. The waning gibbous moon will rise early those evenings, meaning that you will have very little moon-free time to view the shower.

But the Orionid meteor shower will have no moonlight to ruin the show. It peaks before dawn on Oct. 21 as Earth is passing through Halley’s Comet’s debris stream, left behind as the comet travels around the sun. Considered to be one of the year’s finest sky showers, the Orionids offer about 10 to 20 meteors per hour.

Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter all begin the month within 25 degrees of the sun in Virgo, and by mid-month all these planets lie within this constellation.

About 5:45 a.m. early this week, you may spot Venus and Mars near the eastern horizon, approaching one another until Thursday morning, when they are in very close conjunction, about a fifth of a degree apart.

On the morning of Oct. 16, Regulus (in Leo), the waning crescent moon, Mars and Venus form a straight line in the east; on the next morning, Mars lies only about half a degree from a sliver of the waning crescent moon.

Saturn remains in Ophiuchus, and does not set until about 11 p.m. early in the month, but by month’s end it sets around 9 p.m. On Oct. 30, the waxing gibbous moon lies within 2 degrees of Neptune, in Aquarius.

Q&A

Q: Somebody predicted that Planet X would collide with Earth on Sept. 23 — and apparently it didn’t — but now it’s being said that now it will happen on Oct. 21. Should I be worried? — M.B., Akron

A: I wouldn’t. Absolutely no scientific evidence exists for the presence of the supposed Planet X, or Nemesis, discovered by the Sumerians.   The first catastrophe concerning this fiction was initially predicted for May 2003, then moved forward to December 2012, then to last month, and now October. I think some folks need a new hobby.

By the way, a reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible, Barnard’s star is not a planet, neither Comets Elenin nor ISON will strike the Earth, and you will never see Mars as large as the full moon. All these are simply Internet hoaxes, ignorance of science, a persistent belief in some ancient myth, and probably a bit of ego.

Programs

A new version of The Universe at Large will be presented at 1 p.m. Saturdays, and The Dark at 2 p.m. Sundays. 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, driven by the interests and questions of the audience.

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/.