You are here

Welcome to StarDate!

StarDate is a public education and outreach program of the McDonald Observatory at The University of Texas. Our radio program airs daily on more than 340 stations, and our popular bimonthly astronomy magazine is the perfect skywatching companion for amateur astronomers or anyone interested in celestial events and space exploration. We also offer astronomy resources to teachers, the media, and the public.

General information about StarDate and astronomy.

Send mail to:

2515 Speedway C1402
Austin, TX 78712

Call 8 am-5 pm Central time:



Executive Producer: Damond Benningfield

Producer: Casey Walker

Contributors: Dr. Tom Barnes, Chris Duncan, Emily Howard, Tim Jones

McDonald Observatory Leadership:

Dr. Taft Armandroff, Director

Katie Kizziar, Assistant Director for Education & Outreach

StarDate History and Background

StarDate is the longest-running science feature in the country. It began as a telephone message service and soon went on the air in Austin as a daily radio program, "Have You Seen the Stars Tonight?" With a new name and a grant from the National Science Foundation, the series began national distribution in 1978.

Each month, the program offers a balance of astronomy and space-science topics. About half of each month's programs are related to skywatching: eclipses, meteor showers, planetary conjunctions, stars and constellations, and so on.

Other topics are related to important anniversaries (the birthdays of important astronomers or anniversaries of key scientific discoveries or space-exploration accomplishments); recent discoveries in astronomy, astrophysics, and physics; Earth's place in the cosmos; and a variety of topics that help place astronomy in a broader historical, scientific, and cultural perspective.

StarDate Magazine

StarDate magazine celebrates 50 years of publication in 2023. Known as McDonald Observatory News when it was first published, it became a color, bimonthly magazine in 1988. StarDate magazine covers a wide range of topics related to the science of astronomy, space exploration, skylore, and skywatching. Articles may cover recent discoveries or serve as a primer on basic astronomy or astrophysics. We also introduce our readers to historical people and events in astronomy and space exploration, as well as look forward to what will make history next year or fifty years from now. For information on writing for StarDate magazine, submit an inquiry.