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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

November 18-24: The Moon gets around

The Moon really gets around the morning sky this week, passing by two planets and two bright stars, and we’ll have details. We’ll also recall a pinpoint landing on the Moon.

November 25-December 1: Astronomical sightseeing

Many are heading to cold and dark northern climates to watch an astronomical light show, and we’ll have details. And others are flying through the solar system right here on Earth.

December 2-8: First planets

The discovery of an odd planet has earned two astronomers a Nobel Prize, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about some other early “exoplanet” discoveries. Join us for exoplanets and much more.

December 9-15: Moons

The planet Saturn recently regained the lead in the number of known moons, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about a long night of moonlight here on Earth, and a bright companion for the Moon. Join us for moons and more.

December 16-22: Lagging temperatures

The shortest day of the year is coming up this week — the day with the least amount of sunlight. Yet it’s not the year’s coldest day, and we’ll explain why. Join us for the winter solstice, plus fact and fiction in the stars and more.

December 23-29: Our galactic home

New estimates of the size of the Milky Way Galaxy say it’s a lot bigger than anyone had thought, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about our place in the Milky Way’s spiral arms. Join us for the Milky Way and more.

December 30, 2019-January 5, 2020: The new year

A new year begins this week, and we’ll talk about why the year starts in January, and why New York City celebrates it with a big time ball. Join us for the new year, plus the year’s first meteor shower and much more.