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StarDate Podcast

Science

StarDate, the longest-running national radio science feature in the U.S., tells listeners what to look for in the night sky.

Popular episodes

Double Duty

Jan 16 • 02:14

One of the brightest stars of the summer sky is performing double duty here in the dead of winter — it appears in both early evening and early morning. And from far-northern latitudes, it never sets at all — it’s in the sky every hour of the day, all year ’round....

Kepler 90

Jan 15 • 02:14

If you squished the planets of our solar system much closer to the Sun, you’d have something similar to the system known as Kepler 90. The smaller planets are closer to the star, while the giant planets are farther out....

The Leviathan

Jan 14 • 02:14

A beautiful spiral galaxy spins into view in the northeast this evening, near the tip of the Big Dipper’s handle. It actually consists of two galaxies: a large one that’s interacting with a smaller one, with a “bridge” of stars and gas between them....

Moon and Aldebaran

Jan 13 • 02:14

The Moon is bashful — it never shows us its backside. The same hemisphere always faces Earth. There’s a bit of a “wobble” that allows us to see around the edges a little. In all, though, two-fifths of the Moon is always hidden from view....

Life in the Red

Jan 12 • 02:14

Life on Earth is sustained by photosynthesis. Plants and some bacteria combine water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight to make sugars and oxygen, which they release into the air and water. Without that process, modern life wouldn’t exist....

Double Earths?

Jan 11 • 02:14

Astronomers have discovered thousands of planets in other star systems. So far, though, only a few can possibly be described as “Earth-like.” And two of those are in the same star system....

The River

Jan 10 • 02:14

If you’re a mighty Greek hunter who’s tired from being out with the dogs all day, then it probably feels pretty good to put your feet up. And fortunately for the celestial hunter, the people who drew the early constellations provided a convenient footstool....

Mercury and Saturn

Jan 9 • 02:14

Two bright planets are pinching closer together in the early evening sky. They won’t quite catch up to each other, but they’ll get pretty close....

Morning Venus

Jan 8 • 02:14

The planet Venus is changing things up this week. Tonight, it crosses the line between Earth and the Sun — a moment called inferior conjunction. As it does, it moves from the evening sky to the morning sky. Within a few days, it’ll climb into view low in the east-southeast during the dawn twilight — as the brilliant “morning star.”...

Busy Binary

Jan 7 • 02:14

A star system in the unicorn stays busy. An old, puffy star pours gas onto a small, dead companion. That forms a bright disk, high-speed jets, and powerful outbursts — with perhaps a much bigger outburst in the system’s future....

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