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Topic section: A star of astronomy
A star of astronomy
Picture: 10400466s4embed.jpg
This photograph shows Patrick Moore, the longstanding host of The Sky at Night, by his telescope in his observatory at his home at Selsey.
Credit: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Sky watching found perhaps its most enthusiastic champion in the former RAF navigator Patrick Mo

‘It gives me a great thrill to meet astronomers who tell me their enthusiasm for the subject began by watching The Sky at Night…’

ore. Through the medium of television, Moore has been able to reveal the wonders of the night sky to generations, inspiring countless ordinary people to reach for a telescope or a good pair of binoculars and go in search of heavenly wonders. A true amateur – he received no formal training in astronomy – Moore is also a talented musician and composer who will be remembered as one of the great ‘characters’ of the first century of television

Picture: 1983-5236_DHA7028s4embed.jpg

Taken at the Mullard Radio Observatory, Cambridge this photograph shows Jocelyn Bell, who discovered pulsars in 1967, a historical event reported on The Sky at Night hosted by Patrick Moore. Credit: NMPFT

Moore was born in Pinner, near London, in 1923, but his childhood illnesses prevented him from receiving any formal schooling between the ages of 6 and 16 but it was while being educated at home that he developed his all-consuming passion for astronomy. His interest in mapping the surface of the Moon, in particular, developed to such an extent that the Russians consulted his charts during their 1959 Lunik 3 mission.

Author of over sixty books on the subject of astronomy, Moore also presents The Sky at Night, a monthly television programme which, after 46 years, remains as the longest running show in the history of the medium. Knighted for his services to broadcasting in 2001, Moore said in a recent BBC interview, ‘It gives me a great thrill to meet astronomers, both amateur and professional, who tell me their enthusiasm for the subject began by watching The Sky at Night…’

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Topic section: The maharaja’s marble masterpiece
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Concerned about existing astronomical tables, the Maharaja Sawa Jai Singh II built a large observatory at Jaipur in India in 1724 and India has maintained the Asian tradition of watching the heavens with Astrosat, India’s first major astronomical satellite, planned for 2005–6.  > more

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Topic section: The man who found a planet
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A refugee musician from Hanover, William Herschel, settled in Slough and discovered the planet Uranus in 1781. He then became the most famous astronomer of his age.  > more

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Topic section: The big eye of Parsonstown
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The Earl of Rosse constructed what was then the world’s largest reflecting telescope in 1846 at his family seat of Parsonstown (now Birr) in Ireland. The original Rosse mirror is on display in the Science Museum.  > more
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