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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

November 30-December 6: Getting away

For a radio astronomer, some of the conveniences of modern life are also curses. But one group of astronomers has found a place to get away from it all, and we’ll have details. Please join us for this, plus an astronomical escape and more.

December 7-13: A doomed star

Spica, the brightest star of Virgo, appears to be doomed. The star is massive enough to explode as a supernova, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about some giant star clusters, a meteor shower, and much more.

December 14-20: Festival

The planet Saturn has something in common with an ancient Roman festival, and we’ll have details. And we’ll talk about some ancient planets, a successful landing, and much more.

December 21-27: Stonehenge

One of the most famous Sun-watching spots on the planet is Stonehenge, an ancient circle of stones in England, and we’ll have details. We’ll also tell you what to look for in holiday skies and much more.

December 28, 2020-January 3, 2021: Big fireworks

Many holiday fireworks displays have been cancelled this year, but we’ll tell you about some steady displays of cosmic fireworks. Please join us for “universal” fireworks, the new year’s sky, and much more.