Sir Patrick Moore Dies at Age 89

by Nancy Atkinson on December 9, 2012

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Astronomer, author and television personality Sir Patrick Moore has died. He was 89. A statement from friends and staff from the long-running BBC television show “The Sky at Night,” said Moore “passed away peacefully” at his home in in the UK. He had been hospitalized last week and after “it was determined that no further treatment would benefit him, and it was his wish to spend his last days in his own home, Farthings, where he today passed on, in the company of close friends and carers and his cat Ptolemy.”

Moore presented “The Sky At Night” for over 50 years, making him the longest-running host of the same television show ever. He also wrote dozens of books on astronomy.

Moore was said to be “an inspiration to generations of astronomers,” and was on “The Sky at Night” right up until the most recent episode.

“His executors and close friends plan to fulfil his wishes for a quiet ceremony of interment, but a farewell event is planned for what would have been Patrick’s 90th birthday in March 2013.”

Chris Lintott, co-presenter and co-author with Moore, told Universe Today that even though Moore was based in the UK, his appeal was international.

“I remember being at the IAU and finding that astronomers from all over the world were queuing up to thank him for sparking their interest,” Lintott said via email. “He also brought amateurs and professionals together, treating everyone as an equal.”

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

StockportJambo December 9, 2012 at 7:32 PM

A legend. Our pale blue dot is a little paler now.

Nothing more needs to be said.

He will be sadly missed. :-(

John Stock December 9, 2012 at 7:44 PM

RIP to the Legend

Dave Girling December 9, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Sic itur ad astra

RIP Sir Patrick – Go and have another duet with Albert Einstein.

bdlaacmm December 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM

I read my first book by Sir Patrick Moore (on the Moon) back in the late 1960s, and after all these years I can still picture it before me – he was that good a writer. The astronomical community is a little poorer today.

Farewell.

David King December 9, 2012 at 10:18 PM

What a sad surprise! I have watched 100s of his programmes & I’m sure he was a great inspiration to me as a kid & kindled my interest in “The Sky at Night”! He will be missed my his great public! RIP.

Ian McLeod December 10, 2012 at 12:54 AM

He is with Carl Sagan now. RIP Patrick Moore…

alia_801 December 10, 2012 at 2:52 AM

Sky at Night and Sir Patrick were enormous influences on my life, inspiring me to study astrophysics at university. RIP Sir Patrick – a shining star in his own right.

kisypher December 10, 2012 at 8:37 AM

ok. how have I never heard of this guy until today?

tim hem December 13, 2012 at 9:03 PM

if you are an astronomer, you have heard of him whether you realise it or not.

Its Patrick CALDWELL- Moore

Trevor Sproston December 10, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Another great has gone. The Golden Age draws to a close. Farewell.

VFRMark December 10, 2012 at 10:27 AM

“His executors” ??????? Please fix this Nancy.

Rest in peace amongst the stars you loved so well Sir Patrick.

NancyAtkinson December 10, 2012 at 1:14 PM

That is correct….executors as in “facilitators” or “carrying out” ….. executors of his will.

VFRMark December 10, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Sorry Nancy :)

NoAstronomer December 10, 2012 at 2:35 PM

I think it’s understandable that non-UK readers are a little bemused by the attention that this news is receiving.

However it would be hard to over state the impact that Sir Patrick Moore had on two or three generations of TV viewers in the UK. As Nancy indicates, ‘The Sky at Night’ ran monthly for over 50 years with Moore presenting all but one show. He was an excellent communicator and the show reflected his own, somewhat eccentric, style. When I was growing up I couldn’t remember the proper name of the show, it was The Patrick Moore Show to me. The nearest US comparison, ‘Star Gazers’, paled in comparison (IMHO).

He was also the go-to-guy for expert commentary on everything from the Apollo program to Shoemaker-Levy and he was partly responsible (along with Carl Sagan) for inspiring me to study astronomy at college.

Mike.

Russell S December 10, 2012 at 4:16 PM

I think the word legend is apt, a great great loss.

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