Sir Patrick Moore, R.I.P.

I want to add my small voice to those paying tribute to Sir Patrick Moore, who died yesterday. I won’t speak about the amateur astronomer whose lunar maps were used by NASA in preparing for the moon landings. I haven’t gone looking for videos of his xylophone playing. I won’t comment on the allegations that he was a racist. Nor will I even make anything of the fact that he celebrated a particularly fine day of the year as his birthday.

I simply want to retell one story.

My father has been a member of the British Astronomical Association for all my life and longer. When I was a child, he took me to London one day to hear a lecture by Patrick Moore. It went above my head, but clearly inspired many adults and children who were present.

Afterwards, a long queue formed of people who wanted to ask Moore questions. I noticed how he took the children as seriously as the adults. Adults were not more important; they had to wait while he gave children’s questions his full attention.

It is an example more churches need to emulate.


  1. It was one of Patrick Moore’s books that really awakened my interest in astronomy in the 1950s. And the TV programme “The Sky at Night” was a wonderful example of how technical information could be presented to the general audience without dumbing it down: it was only the choice of language that was changed for the audience – the content was always the same.
    In the Christian church we often have that difficulty of choice of language – it is all too easy to confuse the language with the message.


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