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December 09, 2012

Eccentric Broadcaster, Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore Dead at 89

I hadn't heard of Sir Patrick, but after seeing a couple of his videos, I'm going to have to see more. He's saucy, and provocative, and prodding, and fast. A wry sense of humor. Imagine John McLaughlin doing astronomy instead of politics.

From the Brisbane Times:

Tributes have been paid to the "irreplaceable" British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore who has died aged 89.

The eccentric broadcaster passed away peacefully on Sunday at his home in Selsey, West Sussex, after being struck down by an infection.

His friend, Queen guitarist Brian May, said the world had "lost a priceless treasure that can never be replaced".

Sir Patrick inspired successive generations of stargazers with his television series The Sky At Night and wrote more than 60 books on astronomy.
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He celebrated the 55th anniversary of the BBC program in April, with it becoming the longest running television series with the same presenter.

Sir Patrick only missed one episode since it began in 1957, when he suffered a severe bout of food poisoning in 2004 which nearly killed him.

The last program was broadcast on December 3.

More from Sky & Telescope, the BBC and BoingBoing, including the videos embedded below.


Interview with Carl Sagan.

The Sky at Night (2007) with Queen guitarist Brian May.

Quite a personality.

Sidenote: Yes, the video said Dr. Brian May. He's an astrophysicist. I did not know that. I did know he was an engineering-musical genius, though. When I was a kid, I fixed guitars in a music store. We knew May would build the circuits for his guitars and wind his own pickups (the electrical devices that pick up the vibration of the strings). We found that quite impressive. That odd, extremely out-of-phase sound of his guitar? Totally original.

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