Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

British astronomer Patrick Moore dead aged 89
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Dec 09, 2012

Astronomer Patrick Moore, renowned for his work mapping the Moon's surface and for having popularised his subject with the British public, died Sunday at the age of 89, friends and colleagues announced.

Moore, whose lunar research was used by both the US and Soviets space programmes, died peacefully at 12:25pm (1225 GMT) at his home in Selsey on the southern English coast.

He had succumbed to an infection, colleagues said in a statement.

"After a short spell in hospital last week, it was determined that no further treatment would benefit him, and it was his wish to spend his last days in his own home," they said.

Besides his skill at explaining the universe, his monocle, wit, raised eyebrow and idiosyncratic style of speech endeared him to an army of space fans.

Moore fronted the monthly BBC programme "The Sky At Night" from its launch in 1957 and still running today, making him the world's longest-running presenter of the same television show. His last programme was broadcast on Monday.

Moore only ever missed one episode, in 2004, laid low by a contaminated egg.

In 1959, the Soviets used his charts to correlate the first Lunik 3 pictures of the far side of the Moon.

Moscow ensured he was the first Westerner to see the results, which he received mid-broadcast. His early shows went out live, with Moore once swallowing a fly on air.

He was also involved in the lunar mapping in the run up to the NASA Apollo missions.

"My own research -- mapping the Moon -- now belongs to the past, and my role, if I have one, is to try and urge others to do things which I could never do myself," he said in later life.

"This century will be very interesting," he added. "The first man on Mars has probably already been born."

Moore believed he was the only person to have met aviation pioneer Orville Wright; Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space; and Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon.

Buzz Aldrin, who accompanied Armstrong to the lunar surface, told the BBC in 2009 that Moore put astronomy "into perspective so that ordinary people understand the enormity of the universe".

Moore first became fascinated with the stars aged six and two years later he was given the 1908 typewriter on which his vast array of books, papers and children's novels were written.

He lied about his age to join the Royal Air Force at 16 and fight in World War II. He met Wright and Albert Einstein while on leave in North America, once accompanying the violin-playing Einstein on piano.

His fiancee was killed by a bomb during the war, leaving Moore heartbroken. He died unmarried.

Moore was also a skilled xylophone player who composed several pieces, as well as being a useful cricketer.

Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 2001 for "services to the popularisation of science and to broadcasting".

The statement announcing his death said Moore had passed away in the company of close friends, carers and his cat Ptolemy.

"Over the past few years, Patrick, an inspiration to generations of astronomers, fought his way back from many serious spells of illness and continued to work and write at a great rate, but this time his body was too weak to overcome the infection which set in a few weeks ago," it said.

Queen guitarist Brian May, a doctor of astrophysics who co-authored two books with Moore, said the world had "lost a priceless treasure".

"It's no exaggeration to say that Patrick, in his tireless and ebullient communication of the magic of astronomy, inspired every British astronomer, amateur and professional, for half a century."

Former BBC science correspondent David Whitehouse also paid tribute to his colleague.

Moore "was not a professionally trained astronomer and yet did professional quality work, particularly when it came to mapping the Moon in the 1950s," he told Sky News television.

"I think every astronomer in the world owes something to Patrick Moore."

Moore had asked for a "quiet ceremony of interment", said the statement from his friends.

But a farewell event is planned in March, for what would have been his 90th birthday.


Related Links
Astronomy News from

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Armchair astronomers find planet in four-star system
New Haven CT (SPX) Oct 16, 2012
A joint effort of citizen scientists and professional astronomers has led to the first reported case of a planet orbiting twin suns that in turn is orbited by a second distant pair of stars. Aided by volunteers using the website, a Yale-led international team of astronomers identified and confirmed discovery of the phenomenon, called a circumbinary planet in a four-star system. ... read more

Apollo's Lunar Dust Data Being Restored

To the moon and back for less than 2 billion dollars

NASA's GRAIL Creates Most Accurate Moon Gravity Map

Chinese astronauts may grow veg on Moon

Charitum Montes: a cratered winter wonderland

Opportunity Continues Rock Studies

Orbiter Spies Where Rover's Cruise Stage Hit Mars

NASA to send new rover to Mars in 2020

What happens to plant growth when you remove gravity?

Scientists say NASA's budget inadequate for its goals

What trends will take upper hand in space exploration?

To reach final frontier, NASA can't go it alone: analysts

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

Medical Ops, Fan Checks for Space Crew; New Trio Checks Soyuz

Khrunichev Completes Nauka Space Station Module

New Crew of ISS to Perform Two Spacewalks

Space Station to reposition for science

ULA Launch Monopoly to End

SPACEX Awarded Two EELV Class Missions From The USAF

Russia Set to Launch Telecoms Satellite for Gazprom

Sea Launch Delivers the EUTELSAT 70B Spacecraft into Orbit

Astronomers discover and 'weigh' infant solar system

Search for Life Suggests Solar Systems More Habitable than Ours

Do missing Jupiters mean massive comet belts?

Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets

Russia saves satellite after launch glitch

Mobile Internet forcing computers to evolve

Malaysia orders Australian miner to ship out waste

$99 Google laptops for schools sold out

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement