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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

October 17-23: The princess

Andromeda, the celestial princess, is home to some of the highlights of autumn skies. We’ll have details on several of them, including a giant galaxy and a colorful double star. Join us for the princess and much more.

October 24-30: The king

The constellation Cepheus soars high across the northern sky on October nights, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about its history, and about a giant star within its borders. Join us for the king and much more.

October 31: The demon

A stellar demon highlights the Halloween sky — a star that does something that scared skywatchers for centuries. We’ll point out this “spooky” star, and explain why it’s really not spooky at all. Join us for Algol and more.

November 1-6: Canyons and gullies

Spacecraft have photographed gullies on Mars and canyons on one of the moons of Saturn. Both were carved by something flowing along the surface — but it wasn’t water. Join us for this and much more.

November 7-13: Neighbors

Astronomers are scanning the skies for evidence of cosmic neighbors. They’re also thinking about how to talk to the neighbors, and how to visit them quickly. Join us for neighbor civilizations and more.

November 14-20: The Seven Sisters

The Pleiades star cluster, known as the Seven Sisters, climbs high across the sky on November nights, and we’ll have details. We’ll also tell you why the cluster is doomed, and why it’s part of an astronomical coincidence.

November 21-27: Gas station

For an interplanetary spacecraft, Jupiter is a giant gas station, and we’ll explain why. We’ll also talk about some watery plumes on one of Jupiter’s moons. Join us for Jupiter, plus an astronomical link to Harry Potter and more.

November 28-30: Cosmic rays

Particles from far beyond our solar system are constantly pelting Earth. They can affect our planet’s climate, and they’re a major environmental source of radiation. Join us for cosmic rays and much more.