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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 New 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 41-year history. Read more »

A Fond Bon Voyage!

Sandy Wood, who became StarDate's announcer in 1991, has retired from the program for health reasons. Her last episode aired July 16, 2019. Read more »

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 25-31: Keeping time

Marking off the hours, minutes, and seconds is a complicated business, and we’ll have details. And we’ll also talk about a neighboring star system that’s kept quiet. Please join us for timekeeping and much more.

June 1-7: Heavy merger

Astronomers have been studying a dead star that’s the result of the merger of two dead stars, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about a disappearing planet, new missions of discovery, and much more.

June 8-14: Neighboring neighbors

Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to our own — our closest neighbor stars. And astronomers have been searching for neighbor planets in the system — with mixed results. Please join us for Alpha Centauri and more.

June 15-21: Black-hole weirdness

The popular concept of being pulled apart by a black hole’s gravity is true — but only for some black holes. The bigger the black hole, in fact, the more gentle a passage into it becomes. Please join us for black holes and more.

June 22-28: The Stinger

The “stinger” of Scorpius, the scorpion, consists of a couple of impressive star systems with even more impressive futures. And a couple of beautiful star clusters lurk close by. Please join us for the stinger and much more.

June 29-July 5: Dwarfs and giants

The universe is packed with objects of different sizes. But it’s hard to tell how big something is just by its name. Brown dwarfs, for example, are just as big as giant planets. Please join us for some astronomical definitions and more.