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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 20-26: Bright blast

The closest and brightest supernova in centuries flared to life in the night sky 30 years ago this week, and we’ll tell you about its discovery, and what astronomers have learned about it. Join us for Supernova 1987A and more.

February 27-28: Climbing through time

A Mars rover is climbing up the side of a mountain, allowing it to see rock layers deposited early in the planet’s history. Join us for Curiosity’s climb through time, the discovery of radio waves from the Sun, and much more.

March 1-5: Spiders and spots

Giant spiders lurk on our closest neighboring planet, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about dark spots on the surface of a neighboring star. Join us for spiders, starspots, and much more.

March 6-12: Making elements

The stars are giant chemical factories. Their nuclear reactors “fuse” together lighter elements to make heavier ones. In fact, they create all but a few of the chemical elements. Join us for the chemistry of the stars and more.

March 13-19: “Active” galaxies

The giant black holes at the hearts of galaxies can make spectacles of themselves. They can pull in surrounding stars and gas, creating hot disks that are some of the brightest objects in the universe. Join us for active galaxies and more.

March 20-26: New missions

NASA recently approved two new missions to explore asteroids, and it’s also planning for the next generation of big space telescopes, and we’ll have details. Join us for new missions, plus a moving day for a bright planet and more.

March 27-April 2: Moon meanderings

The Moon passes by some bright lights in the evening sky this week, including two planets and two orange stars. Join us for these beautiful encounters, plus the potential for life on a cold world and more.