Patrick Moore: inspirational astronomer (1923 - 2012)

Patrick Moore: inspirational astronomer (1923 - 2012)

A tribute to the legendary and passionate astronomer and broadcaster

Sir Patrick Moore, astronomer broadcaster and xylophone player, passed away on Sunday 9th December 2012.

Sir Patrick was a world-renowned and endlessly enthusiastic stargazer whose passion for his chosen subject helped to inspire millions of children and adults to join him in marvelling at the wonders of the universe.

His interest in space begun at a young age when serious illnesss stopped him from going to school.  He was instead taught at home and spent a lot of time reading.

One day his mother gave him a book about the solar system.  He never looked back!

Patrick Moore

Sir Patrick never went to university, choosing to join the RAF instead. He lied about his age, signed up and became a navigator at in RAF Bomber Command.

After the war his enthusiasm for astronomy increased, leading him to build his own telescopes which he use to make his own observations of the night sky.  He spent 8 years teaching in schools until he published his first book, Guide to the Moon, in 1952.

After publishing several more books, Sir Patrick began the work for which he will be most remembered, the BBC programme The Sky at Night, which was first broadcast in April 1957 and continues to this day.

Sir Patrick Moore presented the show himself for more than 50 years, during which advances in technology revealed more and more about the universe in which we live.

He communicated these new discoveries to an eager public through his books, his involvement in ground-breaking projects like the Armagh Planetarium and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy and, of course, in hundreds of episodes of The Sky at Night.

Sir Patrick's talents were not limited to science.  He was a musician, most famously a xylophone player, spoke fluent French and was a keen cricketer.

As with almost everthing else in his life, his spin bowling action was unorthodox - fitting for an extraordinary man who always did everything in his own unique way.