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Sat Nov 22 02:11:49 SAST 2014

Astronomer Patrick Moore dies aged 89

Sapa-AFP, Reuters | 09 December, 2012 16:11
It is a little known fact that Brian May had to abandon his PhD studies in Interplanetary Dust at Imperial College, London, when Queen's popularity first exploded. He has always had a passion for the subject, however, and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Hertfordshire.
Brian May, (L) guitarist for rock band Queen, joins astronomer Sir Patrick Moore (C) and Chris Lintott during a photocall to launch their book on the history of the universe, entitled 'Bang! The Complete History of the Universe' in central London, 23 October 2006.
Image by: SHAUN CURRY / AFP PHOTO

British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, renowned for his work mapping the Moon's surface, died Sunday at the age of 89, his friends and staff announced.

The astronomer "passed away peacefully at 12:25pm", at his home in Selsey on the southern English coast, they said in a statement.

"After a short spell in hospital last week, it was determined that no further treatment would benefit him, and it was his wish to spend his last days in his own home."

Moore presented BBC television’s landmark The Sky at Night programme for more than 50 years, making him the longest-running presenter of a single show in broadcasting history.

His old-fashioned appearance and rapid-fire delivery endeared him to television viewers.

The BBC said Moore’s mapping of the moon commanded international respect and was used by both the early Russian and American space programmes.

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