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Radio’s Guide to the Universe

Billy HenryStarDate debuted in 1978, making it the longest-running national radio science feature in the country. It airs on more than 300 radio stations. It has been hosted by Billy Henry since July 2019.

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.

The Voice of StarDate

Billy Henry, a voice talent, musician, composer, and college lecturer in Austin is the third narrator of the StarDate radio program in its 42-year history. Read more »

A Fond Bon Voyage!

Sandy Wood, who became StarDate's announcer in 1991, retired from the program in 2019. Read more »

More Than 40 Years and Counting!

StarDate is radio’s longest-running nationally aired science program. It began in 1977 as a daily telephone message service by McDonald Observatory. It was picked up by Austin radio station KLBJ-FM, and aired as “Have You Seen the Stars Tonight” beginning in June 1977. With a grant from the National Science Foundation the program became “Star Date,” and began airing nationally, seven days per week, on October 1, 1978. It quickly reached more than 1,000 radio stations across the country. Read more »

Today on StarDate

January 17-23: Cold Worlds

Pluto is getting so cold that its atmosphere is freezing out of the sky, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about a small visitor to the solar system that may be a chip from a body like Pluto in another star system. Please join us.

January 24-30: Bright Dead Stars

When stars die, they can sculpt some of the most beautiful objects in the universe — colorful clouds and dust that can take on amazing shapes. Please join us for beautiful dead stars and much more.

January 31-February 6: “Pi”-Lover’s Delight

All the major stars in the shield of Orion share a name, and we’ll sort them out for you. We’ll also talk about a close pairing of the Moon and the bright planet Jupiter, and much more. Please join us.

February 7-13: Double Sunrises

The planet Mercury has some odd days. It can have two sunrises and two sunsets, and we’ll have details. Please join us for Mercury, plus ways to study supermassive black holes and much more, right here.

February 14-20: Breaking Up

The break-up of a giant comet may be responsible for several meteor showers, and perhaps a cosmic impact, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about the fragment from another break-up that will just miss us this week.

February 21-27: Exploding Stars

The closest and brightest supernova in centuries blazed into view 35 years ago this week, and astronomers are still learning from it. Please join us for Supernova 1987a, plus volcanic planets and much more.

February 28-March 6: Ancient Skywatchers

Many cultures of old paid special attention to the motions in the night sky, and we’ll have details on some of their most impressive sites for watching the stars. Please join us for this and much more.