×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Brit TV astronomer Moore dies

He hosted 'Sky at Night' for 50 years

Britain’s iconic TV astronomer Patrick Moore died Sunday of natural causes at his home in Selsey, West Sussex, England. He was 89.

Moore presented the BBC show “The Sky at Night” for over 50 years, which made him the longest-running host of the same TV show of all time. He missed only one episode when he was ill due to a bout of food poisoning.

Moore was a prolific writer on astronomy whose research was used by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union in their space programs.

An archetypal British eccentric who wore a monocle onscreen, Moore looked like Hollywood’s idea of the nutty professor. However, his obvious love for his subject inspired amateur astronomers of several generations to take up stargazing.

Onscreen his energy and enthusiasm for astronomy, delivered at breakneck speed, broadened his appeal beyond those with knowledge of the subject.

Moore was the voice of the space age in the U.K. as the first astronauts in the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. were launched into orbit. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were both guests on his show.

Moore fronted the first edition of “The Sky at Night” in April 1957. His final appearance was screened by the BBC last week.

Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore was born at Pinner, Middlesex, England. A weak heart meant he spent much of his childhood being educated at home. He became a voracious reader, and a book given to him by his mother, G.F. Chambers’ “The Story of the Solar System,” was the stepping stone to his lifelong love of astronomy.

He was due to attend Cambridge U. but Moore’s academic career was derailed by WWII. Moore lied about his age and joined the Royal Air Force at 16, serving as a navigator with Bomber Command.

He received many honors during his lengthy career. In 1968, he was appointed OBE and promoted to CBE in 1988. In 2001, he was knighted for “services to the popularization of science and to broadcasting.”

In the same year, he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society, the only amateur astronomer ever to achieve this distinction.

In 2002, Aldrin presented Moore with a BAFTA for services to television.

Moore never married. His fiancee, Lorna, was killed during the war after an ambulance she was driving was hit by a bomb.

More Scene

  • Variety TV Summit Europe

    Variety TV Summit Europe Coming to London on June 13

    Variety’s TV Summit Europe will coincide with London Tech Week this year, returning to the city on June 13. The international conference will be held at the Royal Lancaster and is co-produced by global events company Informa’s KNect365 division, the world’s largest business-to-business organizer. The one-day summit will focus on the intersection of content and [...]

  • David Furnish, Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron

    'Rocketman': Paramount Previews Footage of Elton John Biopic

    “Rocketman” is ready for lift off. Paramount Pictures threw a cocktail party Monday night to preview 15 minutes of the upcoming Elton John biopic, set for release on May 31, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, the legendary rock club where John made his U.S. debut nearly 50 years ago. The footage featured pieces of [...]

  • The CalArts REDCAT Gala 2019 Honoring

    Pixar's Pete Docter Honored at CalArts REDCAT Gala

    Pixar’s Pete Docter reminisced about his days as a student at CalArts on Saturday night at the 2019 CalArts REDCAT Gala, where he received the Distinguished Alumni Award. For the wide-eyed boy from Minnesota, where life was more routine, attending CalArts “was a free-for-all. It was eye-opening in a lot of ways,” he recalled. “But [...]

  • Sasha Pieterse, Eli Brown, Sydney Park

    'Pretty Little Liars' Spinoff Unexpectedly Coincides With College Admissions Scandal

    It was a case of art imitating life at Saturday night’s Hollywood premiere of “The Perfectionists” — Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars” spinoff about a scandal involving college students striving for excellence by any means necessary. The TV show’s debut was coincidently preceded by a real-life college scandal involving Hollywood celebrities who allegedly didn’t let a [...]

  • Keira Knightley'The Aftermath' film screening, Arrivals,

    Keira Knightley Talks 'Aftermath,' Alexander Skarsgård and Another Itchy Wardrobe

    The reigning queen of period pieces, Keira Knightley, knows a thing or two about historical clothing. “Lining. Lining is always important,” the Oscar-nominated actress playfully advised on Wednesday at the premiere of her post-WWII drama “Aftermath.” “If you get a lot of itchy stuff always put lining in it. I have learned that from having [...]

  • Priyanka Chopra

    Priyanka Chopra to Speak at the 2019 Women in the World Summit (EXCLUSIVE)

    Priyanka Chopra has just been added to the star-studded list of speakers at the 2019 Women in the World Summit. Chopra, who will be interviewed on stage by Women in the World founder Tina Brown, will discuss her career as an activist and entrepreneur. Recently, the “Baywatch” actress joined forces with Serena Williams in investing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content