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Patrick Moore dies; British astronomer was host of popular BBC show ‘The Sky at Night’

Astronomer and BBC show host Patrick Moore, in a photograph taken in the mid-1960s, died Dec. 9. He was 89. (Keystone/Getty Images)

Patrick Moore, a British astronomer and broadcaster whose long-running BBC television show “The Sky at Night” was credited for popularizing astronomy among generations of Britons, died Dec. 9 in the coastal town of Selsey in Southern England. He was 89.

The death was widely reported in the British media. No cause of death was given, but he had heart problems.

Mr. Moore had presented “The Sky at Night” for more than half a century. In addition, he wrote dozens of books. Most were on astronomy, with one notable exception — a volume titled “Bureaucrats: How to Annoy Them.”

Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore was born March 4, 1923, in Pinner, England, and grew up in Sussex. Because of illness, he was educated at home by tutors and developed a precocious interest in astronomy.

He served in the Royal Air Force during World War II and became a freelance writer before joining the BBC in the late 1950s.

Mr. Moore, who received a knighthood in 2001, had recently celebrated the 55th anniversary of his program. He only missed one episode, because of an illness caused by food poisoning. He was known for his trademark monocle, his occasional xylophone performances and his frequently professed love of cats.

He wrote dozens of books using a 1908 typewriter he received as a gift when he was 8.

Mr. Moore had long expressed an interest in traveling into space, but said he wasn’t medically fit to do so — he said he was so large that a special rocket would be needed.

He never married and had no children.

— Associated Press

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