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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 340 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 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. Read more »

The Music of StarDate

The StarDate background music was written by Bill Harwell and Patterson Barrett specifically for StarDate.

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 stations across the country. Read more »

Today on StarDate

September 25-October 1: On Alert

Some telescopes can send out alerts when they detect exploding stars or other powerful and unusual events. The alerts trigger follow-up looks by other telescopes. Please join us for telescopes on alert and more.

October 2-8: Changes

The surface of the Moon is changing, a brilliant star may be changing to an even brighter phase, and a star in a nearby galaxy changed the universe.

October 9-15: Ring of Fire

The Moon and Sun will stage a spectacular solar eclipse on Saturday. It’s not a total eclipse. Instead, a brilliant “ring of fire” will encircle the eclipsing Moon, and we’ll tell you all about it.

October 16-22: Moon and Meteors

The Moon teams up with the bright heart of the scorpion this week, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about a meteor shower coming up at the end of the week.

October 23-29: Dark Moon

Huge volcanic eruptions apparently produced some dark lunar eclipses many centuries ago, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about a more modest eclipse, blazing black holes, and more.

October 30-November 5: Brilliant Giant

The planet Jupiter  — the giant of the solar system — shines at its best this week, and we’ll explain why. We’ll also talk about a “spooky” star, some nearby star clusters, and much more.