Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore
Credit: South Downs Planetarium

Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore CBE HonFRS FRAS (1923 - 2012)

Patrick was an English amateur astronomer, who became well-known as a writer, researcher, radio commentator, and TV presenter. Whilst working as a teacher, he set up a 12.5 inch reflector telescope in his garden. He developed an interest in the Moon, in particular the far side of the Moon. Due to the Moon's slight wobble on its axis, up to 9% of the far side of the Moon may be viewed from Earth. Patrick studied the Moon in detail, mapping its craters, mountains, and seas.

He also compiled the Caldwell Catalogue, a list of the 109 astronomical objects observable by amateur astronomers. The list includes galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters such as the Hyades and the Double Cluster. Many of these objects were not included in the Messier Catalogue, which only considered objects which may be observed from the Northern Hemisphere. Patrick used his other surname, Caldwell, to name the catalogue, since the first letter of Moore is already used for the Messier Catalogue.

Patrick was President of the British Astronomical Association, and the Society for Popular Astronomy. He authored over 70 books on astronomy during his lifetime. On 24th April 1957, at 10:30pm, Patrick presented the first ever episode of the live BBC TV show The Sky at Night. From that first episode about the comet Arend–Roland, to his death in 2012, Patrick presented all 721 episodes of The Sky at Night. He holds the record for the world's longest serving presenter on a TV show.