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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.

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 20-26: The Centaur

Centaurus is home to the closest star system to our own, as well as a loud galaxy and a packed star cluster, and we’ll have details. I’m Sandy Wood. Please join me for the centaur, plus telescopes on the Moon and much more.

May 27-June 2: Testing Einstein

Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity passed a major test a century ago this week, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about how the theory keeps passing every test that comes its way.

June 3-9: D-Day

The Allied invasion of Europe began 75 years ago this week, and it had help from the full Moon. Join us for D-Day, plus the Russian civil war, ice on Mercury, winds on Mars, and much more, right here.

June 10-16: Bright giant

Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is shining at its best this week, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about a pair of egg-shaped stars, a key number for understanding the universe, and much more.

June 17-23: Seasons

Summer begins in the northern hemisphere this week, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about different ways to mark the seasons. Join us for the seasons, plus some rejuvenated stars and much more, right here.

June 24-30: Exoplanets

Astronomers have discovered thousands of planets in other star systems, including some that are Earth-size, some that are super-Earths, and some that are giant balls of hot gas. Join us for exoplanets and more.