The Patrick Moore Interview
PATRICK MOORE fronted the first The Sky At Night in 1957 - but no one imagined it would become the longest-running television series with the same presenter ever. The programme has appeared 13 times a year ever since, and 75-year-old Patrick has never missed a single show.
In the years that you've presented The Sky At Night what has been the single greatest advance in astronomy for the professional or the amateur?
The discovery of three degree background radiation has been all important - the last echoes of the Big Bang of 15,000 million years ago. You mention amateurs, astronomy is one of the few things where amateurs can make a major contribution - identifying comets or supernovas for example. They do things professionals don't want to or don't have the time to - or can't do!
Do you prefer planets to people?
I simply can't compare the two - but there are times...
Would you like to visit the stars?
I'd love to visit other planets, to go to the moon and mars - though they'd need a massive rocket to carry me.
It is always a pleasure to see you on television and I note that you have never missed a single The Sky At Night. Do you plan to continue presenting the programme into the new millennium?
[Jonathon Gould, London]
Certainly - why not? I'm only 75 - why can't I go on well into the new millennium?
Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?
Aside from visiting other planets, I also have terrestrial ambitions. I still play cricket and I'd love to take all 10 wickets in a game - I've only ever managed nine. I also want to make 100 runs but I've not got anywhere near that yet.
Do you use the Web - if so do you have a favourite site?
I'm learning how to use it. I have a list of favourite astronomy sites but the most exciting site was NASA's during the mars landing when live pictures were sent back to earth.
What in your opinion is the most exciting event you have reported on The Sky At Night in terms of significance to the human race?
[Kevin O'Brien, Ashrod, Kent]
From humanity's point of view it was the first landing on the moon, in July 1969. Bridging the gap between two worlds was an awesome achievement.
Read Part Two
The Sky At Night