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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

May 16-22: Fives Are Wild

We’ll talk about three big star clusters that have one thing in common: the number five. Please join us for a cluster with a lot of black holes, another with neutron stars, and a third that had several waves of starbirth, plus more.

May 23-29: Moon Meanderings

The Moon wanders past three planets in the early morning sky this week, and we’ll have details. We’ll also tell you about some unpleasant side effects of space travel, a galactic cover-up, and more.

May 30-June 5: The Centaur

The mythological half-man, half-horse is just peeking into view in the south now, and we’ll have details on some of its wonders — including our closest neighbor star. Please join us for the centaur and more, right here.

June 6-12: Pairings

We’ll have stories about several cosmic pairings this week — some permanent, some temporary. Please join us for cosmic pairings, plus a plan to protect Earth from cosmic missiles, and much more.

June 13-19: Superflares

A star in the serpent bearer produces gigantic outbursts of energy that are far larger than any ever seen from any other star, and we’ll have details. Please join us for superflares, plus a possible new job for the Moon and more.

June 20-26: Carbon Factory

An old, bloated star in Leo is belching carbon like a giant factory, and we’ll have details. We’ll also tell you about the seasons on Mars, and a telescope that’s as much art as science. Please join us for these stories and more.

June 27-July 3: Dogging the Sun

Twin blobs of color sometimes “dog” the Sun: sun dogs. They’re formed by ice crystals high in the sky, and we’ll have details. Please join us for Sun dogs, plus leap seconds, a giant volcano, and much more.