In the late evening Monday, the sky features Saturn and Mars in the southwest. Pluto lies right between the two planets, but you’ll need a fairly large telescope, at least 10 inches of aperture, to see it.

You could spot Neptune and Uranus in the southeast (magnitudes 6.2 in Aquarius and 5.6 in Aries, respectively) with a pair of 7 x 50 binoculars and a star chart. Try nakedeyeplanets.com for a well-designed chart.

Jupiter has already dropped below the horizon, around 9:05 p.m., as has Venus around 8 p.m. On Oct. 27, look for Mercury a little over 3 degrees below Jupiter on the west-southwest horizon at 7 p.m.

Two meteor showers occur this month. The Draconids, so named as they appear to emanate from the constellation Draco, the "radiant," peak on the nights of Oct. 8 and 9. The good news is that the new moon will not interfere with visibility; the bad news is that there will not be much to see. This shower, also known as the Giacobinids, is one of the lesser showers of the year.

The Orionid meteor shower is the debris field from Halley’s Comet, and peaks in the pre-dawn hours of Oct. 21. This too is not a significant shower and whatever meteors might be seen will have to compete with the glare of the nearly full moon. November's Leonids should be better than either of the above.

 

Q&A

Q: How can I see the International Space Station when it flies overhead? — T.L., Akron

A: In addition to many websites, a lot of apps are available for smartphones to alert you to the time and date when you can see the ISS flying overhead. NASA’s new site, at https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ is also quite useful.

With a lot of time, preparation, fortitude, resilience, experience, equipment and patience, you just might be able to accomplish what my twin brother Bill did in Hawaii last month. He got a photo that actually shows the ISS transiting the surface of the sun! Don’t wait for the movie to come out; the transit only lasts half a second.

For a detailed explanation of the process (very detailed — Bill's an engineer) go to my blog on the museum's website. Do NOT try this at home unless you know exactly what you are doing. If you attempt to take a photo of the sun without the proper equipment, you may end up blind!

 

Programs

The periodically updated "The Universe at Large" is presented at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Hoover-Price Planetarium in Canton. It 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 1 p.m., with a show followed by a 30- to 45-minute open lecture/discussion.

For more information, visit the planetarium’s blog, 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/.