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Sir Patrick Moore Dies Aged 89 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the fare-thee-well dept.
First time accepted submitter Tastecicles writes "Patrick Moore, the monocled surveyor of the sky who awakened in millions of people an interest in galactic goings on, has died at 89. His love of astronomy began at the age of six, and that childhood curiosity developed into a lifelong passion. It was a passion he shared through his program, The Sky at Night, which he presented for more than 50 years, only ever missing one episode due to illness. Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore was born at Pinner, Middlesex on 4 Mar 1923. Heart problems meant he spent much of his childhood being educated at home and he became an avid reader. His mother gave him a copy of GF Chambers' book The Story of the Solar System, and this sparked his lifelong passion for astronomy. He was soon publishing papers about the moon's surface, based on observations made with his first three-inch telescope. His 1908 vintage typewriter enabled him to publish more than a thousand books on subjects ranging from astronomy, his first love, to cricket, golf, and music."
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Sir Patrick Moore Dies Aged 89

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  • sad day :( (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:18PM (#42233925)
    Not my favorite 007 (Sean Connery FTW) but not my least favorite, either.
    • lol

      Deliberate or mistaken comment, still makes it funny. That's why its good to read an open self regulating forum, the mistakes get corrected with information rather than censorship. Prankster or idiot, well done and now be off with you, we have work to do.

  • by CdBee (742846) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:19PM (#42233933)
    I hardly ever watched his show but I feel we're the poorer for him no longer being alive. News reports suggest he knew he only had a few days to live but still chose to present his last show rather than spending the time on preparing. Thats dedication. RIP
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Funny thing was, I switched on the t.v and his last show was on - it had been a while since I had seen one. Mercury, Venus and a crescent Moon are all visible if you have a clear sky and get up about 6:30 a.m. And if you look hard enough, you might see a new star in the sky.

    • by mickwd (196449) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:02PM (#42234677)

      Really nice comment from Brian May:

      "Patrick is irreplaceable. There will never be another Patrick Moore. But we were lucky enough to get one."

    • A fellow of huge significance in our lifetimes, so many of us will admit to having been influenced by his enthusiasm for astronomy and quite frankly his bravery in being himself in a world increasingly obsessed with vain self promotion. This is not to say that he was not dedicated to helping others because he is well known for tirelessly working to help any individual who asked him for help. It takes moments of searching the web to discover that he talked and wrote to countless individuals throughout his life with advice and encouragement about their interest in astronomy.

      In some ways he predates the internet in his understanding that direct communication has tremendous value, in typewritten letters and time for people he met. Today we have this great digital channel where we hunger for connection through twitter, forums, email, Facebook and he did all of this with the tools of his era - connect. So top appreciation for being one of the first people in the world to join up the thrill and excitement of those in a fascinating profession with us the amateurs and the interested in space and astronomy. He was doing citizen science before the concept really existed.

      And like most interesting people in the world apart from his profession he had other passions in life Cricket and particularly music, you only have to see something on YouTube showing him playing the Xylophone to understand that. Oh and that's the other thing, he obviously had a seriously funny sense of humor.

      Do appreciate the twinkle in his eye at the closing words of this recent interview (skip down to number 10)
      http://www.philipwilliams.uk.com/characters-on-the-coastline.html [uk.com]

      We will be watching that candle and having a chuckle.

      Thank you Patrick for passing on the light.

      • by mikael (484)

        He was home schooled and took an interest in Astronomy after getting a gift of an Astronomy book from his mother. He was accepted by the Astronomy society when he was 11.

        Really enjoyed his shows even if they were late at night. That was intended - you could watch his show, go outside and see the sky for yourself, if it wasn't cloudy.
         

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Don't forget Gamesmaster!

    • His tailor is a personal hero of mine.

  • Very sad news (Score:5, Informative)

    by Smivs (1197859) <smivs@smivsonline.co.uk> on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:19PM (#42233937) Homepage Journal
    He will be greatly missed. Amongst his many claims to fame was the fact that during his lifetime he met the first man to fly, the first man to go into space and the first man to step on the Moon. R.I.P.
    • Agreed. The Sky at Night was a huge influence on me in the late 60s and 70s. Probably one of the biggest causes of me going down the science route at university and why I have a collection of 4 telescopes and various pairs of binoculars. Thanks Patrick.
    • Re:Very sad news (Score:5, Informative)

      by newcastlejon (1483695) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:35PM (#42234043)
      He also played [weebls-stuff.com] the [youtube.com] xylophone. [youtube.com]
    • Re:Very sad news (Score:5, Informative)

      by History's Coming To (1059484) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:37PM (#42234049) Journal
      He was born the year that Hubble made the observations which showed there were galaxies other than our Milky Way, during his lifetime the scale of the (understood) universe expanded by a factor of 100,000. As an amateur astronomer (he never gained any formal qualifications in the subject) he discovered a new crater on the Moon. He lived to see the discovery of a black hole at the center of our galaxy, every "first" in manned and robotic space flight and holds the record for the longest running TV presenter on a show.

      For those who prefer computer games, he played "The GamesMaster" on the British TV show of the same name, and his disembodied borg-like head would give out tips and cheats for various games.

      He was at the forefront of the fight against UFO nonsense (some would say too far, he refused to believe in any life outside the Earth) and was accused of ghost-writing a possibly satirical book called "Flying Saucers Are Real" as "Cedric Allingham", although he always strenuously denied this to the point of threatening legal action.

      Also an accomplished glockenspiel player and champion of the monocle.
      • Re:Very sad news (Score:4, Informative)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @01:42PM (#42234471) Homepage

        NASA used his 'amateur' moon maps to plan Apollo missions...

      • According to a eulogy by Dr Brian May he did accept that there may be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, I stand corrected.
      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        He was at the forefront of the fight against UFO nonsense (some would say too far, he refused to believe in any life outside the Earth).

        Reference please?

        I've never heard that suggestion concerning Moore's beliefs. It would be true to say that we have no evidence as yet of the existence of life off the Earth, but that doesn't mean that it's impossible. And if it can happen once (it did ; we exist), then in a large universe it is pretty unlikely that it happened precisely once.

        the record for the longest runn

    • by david.given (6740) <dg AT cowlark DOT com> on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:28PM (#42234915) Homepage Journal

      I have some of his science fiction novels. They are truly, truly awful. Highly recommended.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:32PM (#42234017)

    A passionate and knowledgeable presenter, even if you had no interest in astronomy his programmes would draw you in. I have never read any of his written work, but will make the effort.

    Also, summary missed out one of his other great TV appearances : as 'the gamesmaster', a virtual god-like entity who would dispense hints and tips to those poor mortal gamers who couldn't find their way past a certain end of level boss, or a clue in an adventure game. This showed his fun side and probably introduced a whole generation to his other work. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GamesMaster)

    • by itsdapead (734413) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:52PM (#42234139)

      Also, summary missed out one of his other great TV appearances : as 'the gamesmaster'

      He also played a mean xylophone!

      However, if you were into space or astronomy as a kid, Moore's books were essential reading. I don't know how well known he is internationally, but in the UK. I can't think of anybody who has done more to not only popularise science, but to show how people could contribute without needing a PhD and a white coat. Plus I believe he made some pretty useful contributions himself, especially with his work on lunar mapping.

      A huge loss.

  • I met him once (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crookdotter (1297179) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:37PM (#42234057)
    And he was a great man to talk to, always had time for anyone who wanted to speak to him about science or astronomy. A great character, and humble through and through.
  • An inspiration (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Abroun (795507) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:44PM (#42234099)
    In 1974 I was 7 years old and wrote to him at the BBC complaining that 'The Sky at Night' wasn't on at a time I was allowed to watch it (in the days before home VCRs). I still have his gracious reply.
  • Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by backslashdot (95548) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @01:23PM (#42234321)

    I read some of his books when I was a kid. I wondered how the hell he wrote so many books. I thought he was much older than 89 when I saw him talking online a few years ago ... Anyway I got disappointed when I found out he was a BNP supporter - an openly racist political party until recently when they claimed to be culturalist not racist (at the time he joined them they were openly racist and didn't allow minority members - a few years ago the British govt forced them to allow minorities). Also, he has made statements anti gay and anti-women comments. I would like to write that off as old age senility, but then he made those comments and joined BNP in his 70s.

    • Anyway I got disappointed when I found out he was a BNP supporter

      Are you sure you haven't confused the BNP [wikipedia.org] with UKIP [wikipedia.org]?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Not commenting on Patrick Moore, here, but what exactly is the difference?

        The only difference I've ever noticed from the BNP is that UKIP is mostly run by the upper class, and the BNP by the working class. They still have the same far right views, just one dresses up better because they have the money and upbringing to do so.

        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

          by coastwalker (307620) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [reklawtsaoca]> on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:44PM (#42235553) Homepage

          UKIP are a party particularly dedicated to getting the UK out of the European Union and find resonance with a lot of people in the UK who think that the country are getting a poor deal out of being in it. They also cite the European Union rules of unrestricted migration between members of the Union as causing breakdowns in social provisioning because of their unplanned nature. They emphatically deny that their opposition to unrestricted migration is because of racism but of course they do attract support from individuals who are racist because they are one of the few parties who do want to restrict migration.

          I do not believe myself that Patrick was likely to be motivated by racial questions. It would not match his lack of interest in class or education that illuminated his support for people interested in astronomy for one thing and another thing is that he was a man of science who moved with the times and would be easily persuaded by the science that now says that racial differences are peanuts compared to politics and culture. Racists in a word are stupid and Patrick was not stupid.

          You might argue that it would have been better for him to join a mainstream party and argue for them to make better provision for incoming migrants so that social provision for the existing population was not put under extreme pressure but at the time he joined UKIP any discussion of this nature was being sat on with the racist tag. The mainstream party's are only just beginning to take this issue seriously now. Sometimes it takes a pressure groups existence and popularity to get the mainstream to take peoples complaints seriously.

          I don't blame Mr Moore for joining a pressure group, particularly one that just came second in two out of three recent local elections, that's democracy for you, do it by the vote and not the bullet, that's what we do. I am not personally a UKIP voter but I do think the mainstream parties need to take note of the grievances of the people who do vote for them. We still believe in democracy here in the UK and the irritating pressure groups that have reasonable requests and dont encourage hatred are a useful part of civil society. UKIP do not encourage hatred unlike the BNP who are not regarded as a useful part of civil society by the majority in this country.

          • unrestricted migration between members of the Union as causing breakdowns in social provisioning

            Funny how people don't concern themselves with unrestricted migration within their own country, as if some accident of geography and history ought to make any difference. Immigration controls; The last bastion of institutionalised racism.

            Also, we would be underestimating the enemy - a fatal mistake - to describe racists as 'stupid'. It's not stupid, it's wrong, mean-spirited, indefensible, but to suggest that only stupid people can be racist is false.

            People who work to get immigrants out of the country, or

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              Also, we would be underestimating the enemy - a fatal mistake - to describe racists as 'stupid'. It's not stupid, it's wrong, mean-spirited, indefensible, but to suggest that only stupid people can be racist is false.

              No, racism is stupid, as human beings are one species, and variations in skin colour are trivial. The idea of "race" is inherently stupid.

            • Funny how people don't concern themselves with unrestricted migration within their own country, as if some accident of geography and history ought to make any difference.

              Carlisle is as far away from Dover as you can get and still be in England. Calais is what, 40 km away.

              And yet the citizens of which two places have most in common?

              Culture, language and tradition do matter when it comes to fitting in.

          • by Xest (935314)

            The problem is a lot of greivances people have who vote for UKIP, are based on complete lies and ignorance. UKIP for example outright lie about the benefits the UK gets from the EU and completely overplay the costs of membership (I mean costs in the broadest sense, not just financial) and many of it's supporters greivances are based on this fundamental spread of propaganda.

            I actually largely agree with the GP, there really is little difference between them deep down. A quick look shows that UKIP for example

    • Let me guess, you're from Rochdale Social Services? Learn the difference between UKIP which is a legitimate political party with a dozen seats in the European Parliament and three in the House of Lords, and the BNP which is an openly violent fringe group.

      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        BNP aren't "openly violent"- they're the so-called "respectable face" of the National Front, EDL, and other openly violent groups. They attempt to maintain a thin veneer of respectability, and confine themselves to talking not about race and ethnicity, but instead about immigration, lost sovereignty, and the erosion of the "traditional British culture".

        Just like UKIP, in pretty much every way. UKIP are just more successful at it.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      He was also against the use of the metric system, an odd position for a scientist to take.

      • The Imperial measurement system just happens to be slightly better tuned to everyday use than the metric system. The units fit better because of their size in food preparation for example, 75 grammes is nowhere as easy to comprehend as 3oz for example or a 1lb or 2lb loaf. Of course Newtons and the rest of the SI units work much better than Imperial units in science but actually in these days of instantaneous unit translation on digital devices it doesn't matter very much what units you sell things to as an

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          The Imperial measurement system just happens to be slightly better tuned to everyday use than the metric system.

          Unless you need to do maths with them, like say doubling the quantities in a recipe halving a length to find the centre.

          75 grammes is nowhere as easy to comprehend as 3oz for example or a 1lb or 2lb loaf

          Maybe if you have a low double digit IQ. Seriously, that is your argument? That double digit numbers are "nowhere as easy to comprehend" as single digit ones?

          in these days of instantaneous unit translation on digital devices

          If by instantaneous you mean "take phone out of pocket, unlock phone, load unit conversion app, select units, type in measurement and read result" then I have to disagree.

          Its particularly frustrating as well that every translation from an imperial unit to a metric unit has been used to gouge consumers by the marketplace.

          Except where it worked in our favour, like 2L bottles for examp

          • So you think US food recipes in cup measurements are wrong because we scientists like to measure in SI units because it makes our lives easy? I'm guessing that your mom cooks your food here, because cooking works great in cups spoons and other random measurements and is a right pain in the arse in grams ml and mm. The consumer is always right and you are not a cook.

            • by Patch86 (1465427)

              I've been cooking as an adult for years, and as a child in my mum's kitchen for years prior- we never use the measurement "cup". Teaspoon/tablespoon, yes, but cup no. My mum (being old-fashioned) always uses pints and ounces (pint of milk, 3 ounces of flour, etc.) measured in a jug for the former and kitchen scales for the latter. I would always use litres (or ml) and grams, measured in the same way. Many recipes might involve informal measures (a splash of vinegar, a handful of herbs, a glass of wine), but

            • by slim (1652)

              I'm guessing that your mom cooks your food here, because cooking works great in cups spoons and other random measurements and is a right pain in the arse in grams ml and mm. The consumer is always right and you are not a cook.

              I'm confused because you measure in 'cups', you call your mum 'mom', but you say 'arse' not 'ass.

              British recipes don't use cups. British people encountering 'cup' for the first time in American recipes, tend to screw up, because they'll puzzle for a while, then shrug and use a teacup, which is unlikely to be 236ml in volume.

              A teaspoon is 5ml, a tablespoon is 15ml. These are metric measures.

              If I'm following a recipe, the easiest way is with an add-and-weigh scale, where you tap the 'tare' button after every

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          The Imperial measurement system just happens to be slightly better tuned to everyday use than the metric system. The units fit better because of their size in food preparation for example, 75 grammes is nowhere as easy to comprehend as 3oz for example or a 1lb or 2lb loaf. Of course Newtons and the rest of the SI units work much better than Imperial units in science but actually in these days of instantaneous unit translation on digital devices it doesn't matter very much what units you sell things to as an end consumer who wants a lump of something in understandable units without lots of significant digits. The supply chain doesn't care what the units are.

          Its particularly frustrating as well that every translation from an imperial unit to a metric unit has been used to gouge consumers by the marketplace. Buying petrol at 1.48 UK Pounds per liter would give anyone a heart attack if they realized that this was $9 per gallon, 5.60 UK pounds per US gallon, or 6.7 pounds per imperial gallon. He had a legitimate complaint that all of us grumpy old people have when changes introduce rip offs that the young don't see.

          In what way is "3" easier to remember than "75"? Other than the fact that it is a smaller number?

          I've never bought petrol in gallons- I know that £1.47 per litre is a lot of money for petrol, but I'd have no idea if £6.70 per gallon was comparatively expensive. If you grew up with gallons then maybe the transition has been rough on you, but it just comes down to what you're used to; I know that £1.29 is a good price for petrol these days (but is a lot compared to the 99p per litre I used t

        • by slim (1652)

          75 grammes is nowhere as easy to comprehend as 3oz

          That's purely a matter of what you're familiar with. Having always cooked in metric, I have no feeling for what 3oz is. I know what 100g feels like, and I'd use that knowledge to estimate 75g.

          Plus with imperial measurement, there's the wacky conversions you have to make when subdividing. Cut your 1lb loaf of bread in half. What does it weigh? 8 oz. You probably know there's 16 oz to the lb. I had to look it up.

          What's half of 1kg in the appropriate smaller unit? 500g. Easy. Nobody has to look anything up, be

    • He was also a member of the Flat Earth Society. It's shocking what beliefs he got away with as a scientist

    • by tehcyder (746570)
      Mod parent down, Patrick Moore was not a member of the BNP. He was in many ways reactionary/right wing (e.g. in his views on gays and women) but he was not an actual fascist.

      As pointed out below, he actually supported UKIP in later life, and that is a more or less mainstream party, representing the anti-European Tory position, but not racist like the BNP.

  • He was a fan of Enoch Powell (a racist)
    He was anti equality legislation for women and non-white people
    He was at one time a BNP supporter (British National Party - racist)
    He wanted to ban women from the BBC

    I wish all the fawning articles on the net today would mention some of this

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore#Activism_and_political_beliefs [wikipedia.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Using wikipedia.org as a reference is like putting Hannibal Lecter in charge of the Michelin Guide ...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:57PM (#42235189)

      He was at one time a BNP supporter (British National Party - racist)

      Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore#Activism_and_political_beliefs [wikipedia.org]

      No he wasn't. Where did you get that from??

      Maybe you misread the wikipedia article you quote:-

      He briefly supported the Liberal Party in the 1950s, though condemned the Liberal Democrats, stating that he believed that they could alter their position radically and "would happily join up with the BNP or the Socialist Workers Party... if [by doing so] they could win a few extra votes."

      Also from the same article he spent 5 years fighting the Nazis :-

      >>> Moore lied about his age in order to join the RAF and fight in World War II at the age of sixteen,[9] and from 1940 until 1945 he served as a navigator in RAF Bomber Command, reaching the rank of Flight lieutenant. He first received his flying training in Canada, during which time he met Albert Einstein and Orville Wright while on leave in New York.

      As to his views on women, maybe you've seen Heather Cooper on the news who wrote to him as a child asking if being a girl would be a handicap to becoming an astronomer and got a reply (he replied to everyone who wrote to him) stating, "Dear Miss Cooper, ...... Let me assure you that being a girl is no handicap at all" and gave her hints as to what would help - Study maths, science etc.

      I'll admit he had some old-fashioned views on some things like women in BBC and mass immigration but I don't think those views were things that shouldn't be said even if you (or I) don't necessarily agree with them and I don't think they detract from his good points.

      • by mrbester (200927)

        Couper.

        • For those not getting the reference, parent is talking about Heather Couper, one of the other great popularisers of astronomy in the UK. She wrote to Moore as a child asking if being a girl was an obstacle to being an astronomer - his reply to her was basically "No, not at all. But you'll have to work hard at the maths, and that's something girls aren't usually 'meant to do' in the current education system." - this was about 40 years ago, and he was spot on for the time.
      • by Inda (580031)
        A man of 90 years having old-fashioned views.

        Well I never.
    • Sorry to be a pain, but could you possibly point more precisely to the parts of the article that justify the following:

      He was anti equality legislation for women and non-white people
      He was at one time a BNP supporter (British National Party - racist)
      He wanted to ban women from the BBC*

      ?

      *(putting female newsreaders into Room 101 [a light entertainment show on the BBC] is not the same thing)

    • by itsdapead (734413) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:04PM (#42235229)

      He was at one time a BNP supporter (British National Party - racist) [snip] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore#Activism_and_political_beliefs [wikipedia.org]

      Unless it has changed in the last half hour, that article doesn't say what you think that it says. What it actually says is:

      [Moore] condemned the Liberal Democrats, stating that he believed that they could alter their position radically and "would happily join up with the BNP or the Socialist Workers Party ... if [by doing so] they could win a few extra votes."

      (BNP and SWP pretty much representing the two extreme ends of the UK political spectrum) and...

      he remained a supporter and patron of the eurosceptic UK Independence Party until his death.

      Note that UKIP is not the same as the BNP. Now, I don't support UKIP, don't like UKIP and am certainly not going to defend UKIP's immigration policies but they're an awfully long way from being the BNP.

      Put simply: if someone I knew joined UKIP, I'd argue with them. If they joined BNP I'd avoid them.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday December 09, 2012 @04:20PM (#42235853) Homepage

        Selective quoting? How about this, from the Wikipedia article you linked to:

        Proudly declaring himself to be English (rather than British) with "not the slightest wish to integrate with anybody",[60] he stated his admiration for controversial former MP politician Enoch Powell.[64]

        That would be Enoch "rivers of blood" Powell. Moore also wrote:

        "homosexuals are mainly responsible for the spreading of AIDS (the Garden of Eden is home of Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve)"

        I really liked most of his work as well, but unfortunately his political views were pretty bad.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If you bother to find out about the "Rivers of blood" speech, you'll find that Powell was merely warning of the possibilities, not that he was advocating violence or anything like it and given the rise of bigotry and violence between ethnic groups - I include indiginous people as well, I would say that what he warned about has come true. In other words, don't shoot the messenger.

        • Selective quoting? How about this, from the Wikipedia article you linked to:

          Proudly declaring himself to be English (rather than British) with "not the slightest wish to integrate with anybody",[60] he stated his admiration for controversial former MP politician Enoch Powell.[64]

          Remember that Patrick Moore was quite old (89) when he died. Enoch Powell did come to hold controversial views on race, but he did not always hold them; in the 1950s he positively encouraged black immigration into Britain, and in 1959 he spoke forcefully against racism in parliament. Before that, Powell was the youngest ever professor in the British Commonwealth, and during the second world war became the youngest brigadier in the British Army,. He was a serious, widely admired and interesting intellectual.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A lot of this seems to have been an extreme reaction, to his fiancee being killed by a German bomb during WWII; he was extremely heartbroken from that and never got over it (never having another partner again thereafter), and his xenophobic views towards Germany originated from that, and (speculating) probably lead to his wider xenophobic views.

        It's definitely a blemish on his reputation, but I think it is something that is forgivable, considering the immense lifelong pain that appears to be behind it, whic

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, I'm convinced.

      If someone I don't know, but who obviously can't read very well says that he was a RACIST, then I'm sure he was. And a pedophile too, I have no doubt. Lets get the torches out, and string up anyone who looks as if they might disagree with us....

  • Great Interviewer (Score:5, Informative)

    by N7DR (536428) on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:23AM (#42239175) Homepage

    I had the honour to meet Sir Patrick (then merely Patrick) in August 1989, and to be interviewed by him for the edition of "The Sky at Night" dedicated to the Voyager 2 encounter with Neptune (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYMfPsqJke8; for anyone that cares, my interview is about 10 minutes into the video). He always insisted that he was merely an "amateur astronomer", but I was impressed by his abilities as a scientific TV journalist: he knew exactly the right questions to ask to make a rather abstruse subject (radio emissions from Neptune) interesting to a non-scientific audience.

    I count myself amongst the many who devoured some of his semi-infinite number of books on astronomy as a child, and who then made a career of the subject. A great example of someone without formal training who nevertheless made a great contribution by making a sometimes-difficult subject accessible to the general public. Would that even a fraction of professional astronomers were half as enthusiastic as he was.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I knew Patrick Moore. When an 89-year-old has the objectionable beliefs that he had (notwithstanding any positive traits), it is easier to overlook than when young people express the same racist, sexist and homophobic idiocy.

      I am saddened to see so many idiotic racist and sexist apologists are thriving.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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