The astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, who has presented the science television show 'The Sky At Night' since 1957, has died aged 89.
The BBC has reported that British astronomer and broadcaster Sir Patrick Moore died on Sunday December 9 at 12:25 p.m.
Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore was born in 1923. He began his interest in space, stars and planets as an English amateur astronomer. He went on to attain prominent status in astronomy as a writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter. Aside from dozens of books, he was most well known for the television program 'The Sky At Night'. Moore's idiosyncrasies, such as his rapid diction and monocle, made him a popular and instantly recognizable figure on British television and the many countries around the world where the program was broadcast.
'The Sky at Night' is a monthly documentary television program on astronomy produced by the BBC. Sir Patrick Moore first presented the program on 24 April 1957 and appeared on the program in early December. This multitude of appearances means that the science program is the longest-running program with the same presenter in television history. Sir Patrick, as Sky News notes in its obituary, has only missed one episode since it began in 1957 when he was struck down by food poisoning.
Sir Patrick was also an amateur musician, competent at the xylophone and piano. He was also a former amateur cricketer, golfer and chess player. In addition to his many popular science books, he wrote numerous works of fiction and was the presenter of the 1990s TV series GamesMaster. He was an opponent of fox hunting, an outspoken critic of the European Union and, in more recent years, a prominent supporter of the UK Independence Party (a 'fourth' party in the U.K.).
A number of professional and amateur astronomers have paid tribute to Moore's passing. The Queen guitarist, Brian May is quoted in the Guardian as saying the world had "lost a priceless treasure that can never be replaced" and he had lost a "dear friend and kind of father figure". Brian Cox posted on Twitter, "Very sad news about Sir Patrick. He helped inspire my love of astronomy. I will miss him! Patrick certainly leaves a wonderful legacy though. The generations of astronomers and scientists he introduced to the night sky."
A statement issued by Moore's family, posted by the Daily Mail, states 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.