Sir Patrick Moore dies - there's a new star in the the sky tonight

The world of astronomical science is in mourning tonight following the passing of one of its greatest sons.  Sir Patrick Moore "passed away peacefully at 12.25pm", according to a statement released by family and friends this afternoon.

[youtube width="646" height="422"]http://youtu.be/GRJumTrie8c[/youtube]

Sir Patrick Moore less prolific on screen in latter years

In more recent years, Sir Patrick Moore has been less of a constant on our screens. A spinal injury, dating back to World War Two, had been plaguing the larger than life character for more than a decade.

The resultant near-paralysis on his right-hand side kept him away from the limelight, but he continued to host The Sky At Night.  Since 1957, up until his 89th birthday, he'd only missed one episode, down to a bout of food poisoning.  That's dedication.

It seems only a few weeks since a bunch of ass-licking anoraks had gathered around a table to celebrate Sir Patrick Moore's birthday.  During that show he revealed his annoyance at that blot on his appearance record.

He was an enthusiastic, fastidious man whose research and books on Astronomy were renowned.  So much so that both sides in the Cold War implemented his findings in the Space Race.

But the Yanks and the Ruskies using his interplanetary research weren't the only accolades bestowed upon this genius, often misunderstood, gentle giant.

Sir Patrick Moore was honoured with both the OBE and CBE, in '68 and '88 respectively.  His knighthood, for services to the popularisation of science and to broadcasting, did come surprisingly late. only earlier this year.

Sir Patrick Moore - genius, bordering on bizarre

In addition, presenting one show for fifty-five years makes him the longest-running presenter of a single show in global televisual history.  His skill on the Glockenspiel was almost as legendary, yet became another frustration in the latter years as his injury rendered him in need of full-time care.

In the end, Sir Patrick Moore knew that the sun was setting on a lifetime of genius that had often courted eccentricity.  Sometimes, that glacial, steely-eyed stare, daring his audience to prove him wrong, showed glimpses of the vast intelligence beneath their surface.  And, ofttimes, a genius propelled to the surface of the cornea on a wave of brilliant monocled madness, it has to be said.

Recent hospital treatment had done so much for the musician, scientist and presenter, but it had reached the end of its effectiveness. Sir Patrick Moore took the decision to spend his final days at Farthings, West Sussex, where he passed away earlier today.

He was a giant of a man, both metaphorically and physically.  He will be sorely missed.  But for his random sojourns into the wilderness where geniuses often spend so much solitary time, he would surely have been as renowned as Einstein, academically.

Sir Patrick Moore leaves neither a widow nor children, having never been married.  Science was his bride and a faithful queen she proved to be.  He has, however, bequeathed a sum for a party to celebrate his life.

As for the burial service, we'll leave you with a quote from the man himself, which sums up Sir Patrick Moore better than I ever could:
I shan't have a funeral. They can take my bits and use them for experiments and chuck the rest away."

featured photo credit: aesop via photopin cc