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Patrick Moore, amateur astronomer and broadcaster, RIP.

by Ziks511 / December 13, 2012 7:57 AM PST

Patrick Moore, compere, as they say over there, of The Sky at Night, the longest running television programme with the same host and title (and network, BBC) died in his home, Farthings, on the West Sussex coast at Selsey.

An eccentric and throw back to the gentleman scientists of the 18th and 19th Centuries, he was educated at home by tutors due to childhood ill-health. At 14 he became the manager of the East Grinstead Observatory. He lied about his age and joined Bomber Command at 16, progressing up through the ranks to officer status as a Navigator. At war's end he was training as a pilot in Canada.

A conspicuous figure who wore a monocle from age 16, he held unconventional and controversial views on immigration, the European Union, and politics in general, being an old school Tory. He declined to accept a scholarship to Cambridge at war's end, preferring "to stand on my own two feet."

He was the noted astronomical authority on the Moon, and wrote numerous books on Astronomy, and in science fiction for younger readers. He appeared everywhere on British TV, and was part of the panel covering the Apollo launches and Moon Landings.

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Is that
by James Denison / December 15, 2012 7:57 AM PST

the little pudgy guy who used to come on and talk about what would be in the evening and morning skies, alignment of some planets and end with some weird type of music swelling up at the end?

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No, I don't remember that guys name, but he called himself
by Ziks511 / December 15, 2012 8:51 PM PST
In reply to: Is that

The Star Hustler, and used Tomita's synthesizer hit Snowflakes are Dancing as theme music. I always found him a bit of a joke, and more than a little creepy.

This is an older pudgy Brit with a monocle, and a very upper crust accent who was very enjoyable to watch. I first saw him on TV up here and again, once a month, when we went to Britain for 4 years. He used Sibelius' Pelleas and Melisande as his theme music.

One of the characteristics of his program was that he could talk clearly without condescending to the audience (unlike that other guy), and even professional astronomers would watch to get notification of new things in astronomy, because he could broadcast them before they hit the specialist journals.

Besides being Queen's lead guitarist, Brian May has a degree in astrophysics, and has been a long time supporter crediting Patrick Moore with getting him hooked on astronomy.


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Yes, Star Hustler
by James Denison / December 16, 2012 2:03 AM PST

you described him well.

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Thank you very much James, and also you JP for the ID.
by Ziks511 / December 16, 2012 5:20 PM PST
In reply to: Yes, Star Hustler

My son got interested in Astronomy at the age of 4 owing to a British series on the Discovery Channel. It was called Amazing Space in the US, and was narrated by the actor who plays Spock's father in the old Star Trek. Originally it was called Encyclopedia Galactica in Britain.

My wife, who was resting as she often did in the afternoons on the weekends, made fun of me for putting it on, all 12 hours of it on 2 video tapes to keep him amused while she rested and I headed off to work. She woke up nearly 4 hours later and he was still watching, and like kids do, he absorbed it all and could talk quite knowledgeably. Two years later I took him to the Dunlap Observatory, established in the 1920's about 15 miles north of Toronto, before light pollution became a problem. The astronomer, a PhD who gave the lecture was very surprised by his knowledge.

Sadly, he drifted away from it in adolescence though he watched Patrick Moore with me, and told a story about him to Canada's premier amateur astronomer who was visiting a telescope shop near where we were living when we returned to Toronto which cracked him up.

I still like astronomy.



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I don't understand why we don't have domes
by James Denison / December 16, 2012 11:34 PM PST

on the moon already. We have the capability to do so now. I can see the moon being covered in plexiglass type domes filled with greenery, with homes under ground, eventually maybe even creating a thin atmosphere from escaped gases.

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