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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

October 26-November 1: Visiting Mars

A trip to Mars would be dangerous. Low gravity, cosmic rays, and storms on the Sun could injure or kill astronauts during the trip. And life on Mars itself would feel both familiar and strange. Please join us for trips to Mars and more.

November 2-8: The princess

Andromeda the princess crowns the midnight sky this week, and we’ll have details on the constellation and its most famous resident, the Andromeda Galaxy. Please join us for the princess and more.

November 9-15: Frogs in space

NASA launched a couple of bullfrogs into space 50 years ago this week, and we’ll explain why. We’ll also talk about volcanoes on Venus, a dinosaur killer, the size of the Milky Way, and more.

November 16-22: Planets

The Moon passes by a couple of bright planets this week, and we’ll have details. We’ll also talk about a young planet, an old planet, and a planet that disappeared like dust on a stellar wind. Please join us for planets and more.

November 23-29: The Great Silence

If any other civilizations are out there, they’re keeping quiet, and we’ll talk about some possible reasons for the silence. We’ll also talk about some “steamy” planets, some busy galaxies, and more.

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.