A nobleman among geeks, the great stargazer Patrick Moore passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Born in 1923, the great man racked up many geek accolades in his long career of star watching, contributing to the NASA moon landings and holding the world record for the longest running TV show with the same presenter for his 55 …
Not being of the British persuasion, the first time I saw Moore on 'the sky at night' many moons ago, I was just zapping along at some unholy hour and I came aross this funny talking bloke with a monocle and eyebrows that were clearly following their own script.
Initially I thought I'd come across some Monty Python episode I hadn't seen up to then, half expecting four blokes in a dress jumping into view yelling 'no one expects the Spanish inquisition !'.
Over the years I kept watching his contributions, however, and he always had interesting stuff to share, and somehow he always managed to go about it in a way that made you want to watch it and learn a bit. He never lost the mad professor look though. I expect he cultivated it to some extent.
I always found it a shame they didn't put him on at a more sensible hour.
May he roam the great expanse forever. If he so believed.
A Glass was raised. Cheers Patrick!
A very pleasant chap...
I met him at the Greenwich Observatory during the Meridian centenary celebrations during the 80's. We were in the Telescope dome and he just happened to be standing next to me. I was probably ten at the time, but when asked he said hello and was awfully pleasant to a starstruck child. He brought character to Astronomy!
What no mention that
He was proud to have met one of the Wright Brothers (first man to fly a powered aircraft), Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong.
I had not realise he accompanied Albert E on the piano
For all his faults (and I heard him in an interview expounding his rather xenophobic views once when after a bref rant he reflected 'actually, that's not very nice is it?' about his own opinion), he was an enthusiast, who communicated his enthusiasm with panache.
He also recorded a little dot by saturn one night, which he did not realise was a then unknown moon, re-discovered by a NASA probe. He did discover a crater on the Moon, due to its remainign wobble it shows slightly more than 50% of its face to us.
Thre cheers for Sir Patrick..
He hated utility companies and their bills
....and took great delight in sending cheques, late, unsigned, and stapled 50 times to the remittance slip, under the bit that said "do not write below this line".
You might smirk but, having consumed the service in question (he hated phone bills in particular) he was then reluctant to pay for it. Ha ha yes very funny but the net effect of such behaviour is to increase the 'cost to recover' for each utility company and guess what happens then? yes, they increase their prices. For someone so smart he didn't really do the maths there.
How do I know? I used to work for 'Post Office Telephones' back in the day and they expeded huge amounts of resource just to appease him and entice him to pay.
A tear in my eye
I can genuinely say that I have tears in my eyes right now at my desk at work.
Some truly touching words about what I remember as being a massive character.
Rest in peace. I will be studying the sky at night, tonight
Not just at the loss of a national treasure that I never tired of listening to, but at so many comments so eager to try and paint his understandable loathing of Germany or his politics as reasons to belittle this intellectual colossus.
Possibly the only man to meet first man to fly, first man in space and first man on the moon, xylophonist , composer, lunar cartographer, author, presenter, animal rights campaigner... and the first thing some people can comment on is he was not PC enough.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
I was lucky enough to get to know him quite well for a few years while I was at University. I was studying Astrophysics and Patrick was one of our guest lecturers on the Introduction to Astronomy courses. In my second and third years I was the President of the Astrophysics Society and had the honour of taking Patrick over to the pub for lunch every time he came to lecture. We used to talk about Cricket, Sky at Night and of course Astronomy and he could drink me under the table easily!
In my third year, he'd just come back from the JPL labs as Pasedena as Voyager 2 had just done its fly-by of Saturn and I was editing a magazine for the department which aimed to explain what all the researchers were actually doing. I was a bit cheeky and asked Patrick if he could write something about the Saturn discoveries, thinking he'd send it to me sometime later. "No problem" he said,"Find me a typewriter and some coffee, I've got half and hour before I'm supposed to do this lecture" Wow! so I did and 20 minutes later he handed me 6 sides of typescript with hardly a single mistake! Sensibly, I got him to autograph and date it and I still have it!
Old, but a fitting tribute
This has been round a while, but I think it says it all, or something
Not just on your side of the pond
I didn't get to see him on TV, but his books riveted me, and focused my interest in astronomy. I wanted to be an astronomer until I found they don't actually look through the telescopes these days---it's still one of my main interests, though.
As for eccentricity, thanks to him I was the only kid on my block who knew what a blancmange was, decades before Monty Python.
He added much to my life, and I thank him for it.
A man cut from the same cloth as David Attenborough. An endearing and commited educator with an infectious passion for his chosen field and an inspiration for so many.
He will be greatly missed.