Astronomer Patrick Moore arrives for the British Academy
television awards at the Grosvenor House hotel in London in
this 2001 file photo. REUTERS/Michael Crabtree/Files
British astronomer Patrick Moore, who helped map the moon
and inspired generations of star gazers with decades of
television broadcasts, has died aged 89.
Moore presented BBC television's landmark "The Sky at Night"
programme for more than 50 years, making him the
longest-running presenter of a single show in broadcasting
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
"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 told Sky News.
"It was captivating and the best example of communication and
an expert sharing his enthusiasm that I have ever
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.
"He was broadcasting before we actually went into space and
he saw a change in our understanding of the universe,"
British space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock told the BBC.
Moore, rarely seen without his trademark monocle, was also an
enthusiastic musician and xylophone player and once
accompanied a violin-playing Albert Einstein on the piano.
He never studied for a degree, building up his expertise
through his own single-minded enthusiasm, constructing an
observatory in the garden of his southern England home.
His television show marked many astronomical landmarks, and
he was broadcasting live when the first picture of the far
side of the moon were returned by a Russian satellite.
Television schedulers were not always sympathetic to the
significance of developments in space.
During the NASA Apollo 8 mission, Moore told viewers they
were about to hear the voices of first men round the Moon in
"one of the greatest moments in human history," only to be
interrupted by BBC switching the broadcast to a daily