Patrick Moore, Astronomer


Observer's Book of Astronomy by Patrick Moore. Published 1971
mistersnappy, via Flickr

Do you ever study the stars at night? Colin Lowther and Katy Blake tell the story of Patrick Moore. His television programme encouraged many people to look up at the sky.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

Voice 2 

And I’m Katy Blake. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Everyone has looked up into the sky at night. Everyone has seen stars in the night sky. But have you looked up and observed the mountains on the moon? Have you seen every planet that orbits the sun? Today’s Spotlight is on a man who did this. He spent his whole life looking at the sky at night. He loved astronomy. He loved studying the moon, planets and stars. And he helped millions of other people enjoy it too. His name was Patrick Moore.

Voice 2 

Moore was born in 1923 in England. As a small boy he had a weak heart. He did not go to school. Instead, he learned at home. When he was six or seven years old his mother gave him a book. The book was about the planets. He read it from cover to cover. And he wanted to know more. He started to study the moon, planets and stars. He was excited by everything he learned. When he was only 11 years old, he even became a member of the British Astronomical Association.

Voice 1 

He was particularly interested in the moon. He used a telescope to study its surface. The telescope made everything look bigger and closer. He could see the detail of the surface of the moon clearly. He saw mountains. He also saw circle shaped craters. Objects hitting the moon make these craters. In this way he taught himself about the moon. He discovered many new things about it. When he was 13, he published a report about his discoveries.

Voice 2 

As Moore grew older he continued to learn more. He continued to study the moon and its mountains and craters. And he made special maps of what he saw on the moon. He did not do this as a job. He did it because he enjoyed doing it. He was an amateur. But many important people respected his research and his lunar maps.

Voice 1 

At this time no-one had travelled into space. But both the Soviet Union and the United States had space programmes. The people in these space programmes knew about Moore and his research. And both space programmes used his detailed lunar maps.

Voice 2 

In 1959 the Soviets launched the space rocket Lunik 3. It took the first pictures of the far side of the moon. The Soviets used Moore’s lunar maps to connect their pictures with images of the near side of the moon. Later the United States space programme NASA also used his detailed maps of the moon. The maps helped NASA scientists to plan their moon landings.

Voice 1 

So Moore played an important part in the early exploration of space. He also wanted to spread interest in astronomy. He wrote many popular books on the subject. But it was through television that he reached millions of people. He gave them an interest in astronomy.

Voice 2 

In 1957 the Soviets sent the first satellite, Sputnik I, into space. And in that same year Moore became the presenter of a BBC television programme. It was called ‘The Sky at Night’. Moore presented this television programme about space and astronomy for 55 years. This was until his death in 2012.

Voice 1 

Moore loved to communicate his subject. He was so excited about it that he would speak very fast and very loud. He was very tall and very large. He talked with knowledge and excitement about the moon and planets such as Mars, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. He told people about comets, black holes, eclipses, meteors and far off stars and constellations. He made difficult things easy to understand.

Voice 2 

Moore was also interested in people. He talked to many scientists. He also met many astronauts who had gone into space. And some of them even appeared on ‘The Sky at Night.’ He met the first man in space, the Russian Yuri Gagarin. He also met the first woman in space, the Russian Valentina Tereshkova. He also knew many of the American Apollo astronauts, including Neil Armstrong. Armstrong was the first man who walked on the moon. He appeared on ‘The Sky and Night’ programme and talked about the moon with Moore. Buzz Aldrin was the second man on the moon. He said that Moore helped people to understand the greatness of the Universe.

Voice 1 

Many people became excited about astronomy through Moore and ‘The Sky at Night’ programme. Dr. Marek Kakula is the current Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in the United Kingdom. Kakula told the BBC that Moore had a big effect on the world of professional astronomy. He said:

Voice 3 

‘There are many trained astronomers like me who can date their interest in astronomy to watching Patrick on television.’

Voice 2 

Moore did not just interest people in astronomy through his books and on television. He helped them develop their interest directly. He wrote letters of encouragement and support. He met people at events. And he even invited them to his home. There he shared his telescopes, his knowledge, and his food and drink. Brian May was one such person. May is part of the popular music group Queen. But he is also a scientist. He is an astrophysicist who studies the physics of the universe. May told the BBC:

Voice 4

‘We all learned astronomy from Patrick Moore. We learned that kind of hunger and joy for knowledge that he had and shared with everybody. He lived and breathed his subject. And he shared it with everybody. He only lived to share his knowledge, his wealth and his time.’

Voice 1 

Moore received many awards for his work during his life. He even received a knighthood from the Queen. So he became Sir Patrick Moore. But Moore always said that he was nothing more than an amateur. He was not a trained astronomer. He was somebody who did his work because he loved doing it.

Voice 2 

Do you enjoy doing something as an amateur? Do you tell other people about your interest? Share your experiences on our website www.radioenglish.net.

Voice 1 

The writer of this programme was Shelagh Godwin. The producer was Nick Mangeolles. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this programme and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this programme again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This programme is called, ‘Patrick Moore, Astronomer’.

Voice 2 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight programme. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you like to look at the stars? What do you want to learn about space?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
dambaoloc1978
said on April 15, 2013

thanks for your help

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ledinhlao
said on April 15, 2013

i am a student…my majo ris business, but i like to study english…so i am a amater.hiihi..i just want to do it because i enjoy doing it ^^

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shania
said on April 15, 2013

thanks spotlingt,let me konw a lot of things. i lern english because i like english.

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shania
said on April 15, 2013

thanks spotlingt,let me know a lot of things. i learn english because i like english

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thanhdung07121985@gmail.com
said on April 16, 2013

When I was child,I often looked up into the Night Sky while playing with other children in patio.

I was interested in seeing the moon,star, infinite Universe.

I wished that I could come in the moon, Universe as astronaut to explore a strangle feeling.

But it was only a innocent thought of a child.

Thank for Spotlight help me to know Patrick Moore.

All of us never think he is a amateur. He is really a Great Astronomer .

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nguyenngoctranvu
said on May 25, 2014

Thanks for sportlight. it help learn more Patrick Moore. I love spotlight.

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jos
said on June 21, 2017

This history was very interesting, thanks a lot for sharing with us.

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hiennguyen_2409
said on July 25, 2017

tkanks for your help. i really love astronomy

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Honneur
said on April 21, 2018

Thanks for this great job. Did you think that you is making a job likewise the Patrick Moore’s job?