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StarDate Radio programs are frequently based on research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)


September 2012

Skywatching in September

This is a month of especially close encounters for the Moon. It just squeaks past Jupiter early in the month, takes aim at Venus a few days later, and finishes up with Mars after the Moon moves into the evening sky in mid-month. Scorpius and Sagittarius, the signature constellations of summer, are getting ready to drop from view, while a string of constellations representing water is climbing into view in the southeast. More skywatching information is available at StarDate.org

McDonald Observatory

StarDate Media

Register with our StarDate magazine service, "StarDate Media" to help your Web and broadcast media bring the excitement of skywatching events to your listeners and web site visitors. To receive advanced notice of upcoming skywatching events, email your request and your contact information to Rebecca Johnson at rjohnson@astro.as.utexas.edu. High-resolution images are available in our Image Gallery


Universo is a Spanish-language radio program on astronomy and is available at no cost. Like its English-language counterpart, StarDate, Universo's web site provides skywatching information and highlights. Broadcast since 1995 many of the audio programs deal specifially with Mesoamerican astronomy and skylore, the contributions of Hispanic astronomers in the United States, and broader cultural topics of interest to Hispanic audiences. Avisos semanales para mirar las estrellas y audios en Espanol vaya a RadioUniverso.org

Recent Highlights

August 5, 2012

Sky Crane


A "sky crane," shown in this illustration, successfully lowered Mars Science Laboratory the final few feet to the Martian surface at approximately 12:31 a.m. CDT August 6. The rover quickly transmitted a few thumbnail images, with full images scheduled for later in the day. The crane winched MSL's Curiosity rover down a cable to its safe touchdown.

August 20, 2012



The twin Voyager spacecraft, the first of which began its journey on August 20, 1977, carry the sights and sounds of Earth on gold-plated records. The cover, at top right, shows how to play the phonograph record, as well as information on the origin of the spacecraft. The two probes explored the worlds of the outer solar system, and continue to return to data as they reach the boundary between the Sun's sphere of influence and interstellar space.