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Sir Patrick Moore
"It's an upgrade"
 real 28k

Saturday, 30 December, 2000, 00:03 GMT
Top honour for Patrick Moore
Patrick Moore
Patrick Moore: Career devoted to promoting science
Patrick Moore, the man who has done more than any other to raise the profile of astronomy among the British general public, is to get a knighthood from the Queen.


If I have made a contribution, I am delighted

Patrick Moore
The presenter of the Sky At Night programme on BBC Television was made an OBE in 1968 and a CBE in 1988 . He will now get the new, higher honour "for services to the popularisation of science and to broadcasting".

He told BBC News Online: "It came as quite a surprise, but I'm glad it's felt I deserve it. If I have made a contribution, I am delighted.

"I never thought that when I first started observing the sky at the age of seven that I'd be given a knighthood. I've been presenting the Sky At Night for nearly 44 years and know that many of the world's leading astronomers were inspired in some small way by my programme."

Xylophone skills

The BBC show first aired in April 1957 and is now in the record books as the world's longest-running TV series with the same presenter. Patrick Moore has also written more than 60 books on astronomy - all on his 1908 typewriter.

Mars Nasa
Several probes will be heading to Mars in the next few years
He was educated at Cambridge University. His research interests concentrated on mapping the Moon. In 1959, the Russians used his charts to correlate the first Lunik 3 pictures of the far side of the satellite, and he was also involved in the lunar mapping done prior to the Nasa Apollo missions.

Partly thanks to his larger-than-life personality, bachelor Patrick's own fame extends far beyond astronomical circles. A self-taught musician and talented composer, he has displayed his xylophone-playing skills at a Royal Variety Performance.

He also has a passion for the game of cricket and has played for the Lord's Taveners charity team, although at the age of 77 he now admits his chances of playing again are slim.

Amazing pictures

Earlier this year, he had to have shrapnel from a wartime blast removed from his right knee.

Cassini Nasa
Cassini is sending back "amazing pictures"
But he told BBC News Online that he intends to go on enthusing about astronomy for as long as he can.

"I'm really excited about the exploration of the planets and the Moon by spacecraft. We've got probes going out to Mars with the prospect of finding life there; the Cassini probe going out to Jupiter and Saturn is taking amazing pictures.

"I'm also excited by how we can look into the depths of the Universe to find out about its history. Our new, big telescopes probe further than ever before."

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See also:

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Pictures of the early Universe
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