➤ RIP Patrick Moore: the last great Englishman, astronomer and xylophonist with a monocle

Patrick Moore ,astronomy, TV series, Sky at Night,xylophone

Sir Patrick Moore in 2009: a national treasure at home. (Photo: BBC)

❚ THE FAMOUSLY FASHION-BACKWARD astronomer and national treasure Sir Patrick Moore CBE, FRS, FRAS, has long been instantly recognisable from his signature XXL blazers, regimental tie, unkempt hair, lopsided eyebrows and monocle. He has died in his 90th year. As Nanny’s childhood lesson in tying a tie-knot grew ever more distant, his shirt-collar size became comfortably two inches larger than his neck size. The rise on a pair of gentleman’s trousers, he evidently believed, should reach to the chest – a mindset which presumably boosted his own rise to unrivalled heights in the realms of international astronomy and cosmology. His own early Moon maps helped the Apollo Mission plan their landings.

You can’t be interested in astronomy and not stumble across something that Patrick has done. It’s such a huge body of work
– Dr Marek Kakula, Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Since 26 April 1957 Sir Patrick has presented the BBC TV programme The Sky At Night for more than 700 editions, making him the longest-running host of the same television show ever. Moore’s dishevelled appearance and rapid-fire speaking voice are as much part of the nation’s fond attachment to his personality as the programme’s theme tune, Sibelius’s Pelléas et Mélisande.

On the show’s 50th anniversary, comedian Jon Culshaw impersonated him as the interviewer while Sir Patrick spoofed himself as a Time Lord. The astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May, who wrote a book on astronomy with Sir Patrick, described him as a “dear friend, and a kind of father figure to me”.

➢ British astronomer and broadcaster Sir Patrick Moore has died, aged 89 … “he passed away peacefully this afternoon in his own home, Farthings, in the company of close friends and carers and his cat Ptolemy.”


➢ Moore’s instinctive eccentricity means that his entry at Wikipedia is a rare example of being compulsorily readable

➢ Space rock the final frontier: Sir Patrick Moore on cosmic pop – 2009 interview with The Quietus

➢ Vintage clips from 45th anniversary of The Sky at Night – Moore plays the music of astronomer Sir William Herschel at the piano.

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