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Radio’s Guide to the Universe

StarDate announcer Sandy WoodStarDate debuted in 1978, making it the longest-running national radio science feature in the country. It airs on more than 300 radio stations.

StarDate tells listeners what to look for in the night sky, and explains the science, history, and skylore behind these objects. It also keeps listeners up to date on the latest research findings and space missions. And it offers tidbits on astronomy in the arts and popular culture, providing ways for people with diverse interests to keep up with the universe.

StarDate is a production of The University of Texas McDonald Observatory, which also produces the Spanish-language Universo Online web site and the bi-monthly StarDate magazine.

Today on StarDate

February 19-25: The big dog

Canis Major, the big dog, scurries low across the south on winter evenings, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about two of the dog’s impressive stars, including one that pulses like a beating heart. Join us for the big dog and more.

February 26-28: Planetary protection

As far as we know, Earth isn’t threatened by fleets of alien spacecraft. But it could be threatened by something less obvious: microbes from other worlds. Join us for efforts to protect Earth and other worlds from each other, right here.

March 1-4: Second best

The second-brightest star in the night sky just peeks into view for folks in southern parts of the United States at this time of year, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about celestial fireballs and much more.

March 5-11: Moon meanderings

The Moon passes a whole lineup of bright objects in the early morning sky this week — the planets Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. We’ll tell you all about those close encounters, plus a close stellar neighbor and more.

March 12-18: Beginnings

The best scientific explanation for the beginning of the universe is the Big Bang — a moment of creation almost 14 billion years ago. We’ll have details on the Big Bang, plus some ideas about what came before.

March 19-25: Planet hunters

A new planet-hunting spacecraft is set for launch soon, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about a tiny spacecraft that’s looking for a single planet to make a move. Join us for planet hunting and more.

March 26-31: Déjà vu

The second Blue Moon of the year is coming up this week, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about the Milky Way’s empire and about a group of galaxies that shows our own galactic future. Join us for this and more.