Astronomer And Television Host Sir Patrick Moore Passes Away
December 10, 2012

Legendary Astronomy Broadcaster Sir Patrick Moore Dies

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Sir Patrick Moore, a UK astronomer who also spent more than five decades covering space travel as a broadcaster, passed away at his home Sunday at the age of 89.

Moore, the author of dozens of books on astronomy and the host of the BBC television program The Sky At Night for over 50 years, died "peacefully at 12:25 this afternoon" at his residence at Selsey, West Sussex, his friends and colleagues said in a statement Sunday, according to BBC News. He was the longest-running host of a single show in broadcasting history, according to the British news agency.

"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," that statement also said. "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."

"A space enthusiast from his early childhood, Moore's television career coincided with the start of the space race between Russia and the United States," Reuters recalled in a Sunday tribute to the fallen icon. "His old-fashioned appearance and rapid-fire delivery endeared him to television viewers and captured the imagination of future astronomers who paid tribute to the presenter and prolific author."

Moore was born on March 4, 1923 at Pinner, Middlesex. He suffered from heart problems as a child, and became an avid reader. According to the BBC, his love for astronomy was born after he ready a copy of the book The Story of the Solar System -- a present from his mother. Moore was the presenter for the first episode of The Sky at Night in April 1957, and last appeared on an episode that aired last Monday. He was knighted in 2001.

BBC News David Shukman called Moore "the voice of the space age“¦ Generations grew up with Patrick Moore as their guide and he proved hugely influential. Astronomy was no longer a niche activity."

"Patrick would just sit in front of the camera for a whole episode ... and just tell you about a constellation, about the stars, their names, their history," British astronomer David Whitehouse added in an interview with Sky News, according to Reuters. "It was captivating and the best example of communication and an expert sharing his enthusiasm that I have ever experienced."