Sir Patrick Moore, 1923-2012

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:

Sir Patrick Moore, astronomer and broadcaster, dies aged 89 [BBC]