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Honorary Vice President of Cornwall Astronomy Society Sir Patrick Moore dies

By marcprosser  |  Posted: December 09, 2012

Photo by: Jabberwock

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The famous writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter Sir Patrick Moore passed away today, aged 89.

Sir Patrick Moore, known throughout Britain as the presenter of the TV-program 'The Sky at Night' for more than 50 years, held many titles – including one as the Honorary Vice President of Cornwall Astronomy Society.

The broadcaster died at his home in Selsey, West Sussex. He "passed away peacefully at 12:25 this afternoon," according to a statement released by friends and colleagues, .

"It was determined that no further treatment would benefit him, and it was his wish to spend his last days in his own home, Farthings, where he today passed on, in the company of close friends and carers and his cat Ptolemy," the statement said.

Patrick Moore was knighted in 2001, and was a honorary fellow of the Royal Society.

His last appearance on The Sky at Night was broadcast on Monday.

During the show's more than 50 years on air, Sir Patrick Moore only missed one episode when he was struck down by food poisoning.
His trademark monocle, unique delivery and occasional performances on the xylophone were part of what made him a household name. His scientific credentials were, however, never in doubt.

He wrote dozens of books on astronomy and parts of his research was used in both the American and and Russian space programmes.

He was voted into the International Astronomical Union in1966 and is still the only amateur ever to become a a member of the organisation. During the 1970s and 80s, he reported on the Voyager and Pioneer programmes, often from NASA headquarters.

He compiled the Caldwell catalogue of astronomical objects - an astronomical catalogue of 109 bright star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies for observation by amateur astronomers - and in 1982, asteroid 2602 Moore was named in his honour

Sir Moore could be both equally gruff or welcoming to strangers.

He often became visibly annoyed with journalists who asked him questions like: "Why waste money on space research when there is so much to be done here on Earth?".

He later revealed that then when asked that type of question: "I know that I'm dealing with an idiot."

However, as of 2003, his phone number was still listed in the telephone directory and he was happy to show members of the public round his observatory.

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