Astronomer Patrick Moore, who presented the BBC's The Sky At Night for more than 50 years, died Sunday at his home in England. Moore turned me on to stargazing as a youngster, and he was the eccentric and enthusiastic embodiment of science for my generation--and for so many other generations that I was sure he'd live forever, always popping up for a near-silent late night science segment, cyberpunk videogame show or xylophone performance.
It's tempting for us to dwell on his dark side: though an opponent of bloodsports and a tireless debunker of conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, Moore was also a sexist, homophobic, xenophobic dinosaur. What you want to take from it all is, of course, up to you.
Here he is watching a total eclipse with Queen guitarist Brian May. And here he is chatting with Carl Sagan about extraterrestrial civilizations: