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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.

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

November 12-18: Looking down a barrel

The last gasp of a dying star forms a beautiful pair of rings. But that appearance is deceiving — it’s actually a giant barrel of gas and dust, and we’re looking right down the middle. Join us for the Helix Nebula and more.

November 19-25: A challenging arrival

The latest mission to Mars is set for landing in a few days, and we’ll talk about the challenging approach to the Red Planet. We’ll also talk about galaxies that churn out new stars, and much more.

November 26-30: The little guys

A spacecraft is beginning to snuggle close to an asteroid right now, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about comet tails, and a comet that’s visiting the inner solar system. Join us for the solar system’s little guys and more.