With Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan, Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore helped foster my interest and understanding of astronomy. I’m not an avid fan of “The Sky at Night” partly because it lives up to its title and is generally broadcast late at night. However, it is a notable achievement to present a TV program every month (bar one) for over 55 years. He wrote many books and it is some of those which have informed me over the years more than the TV series.
Having never met him I’ll leave it to others to describe his life in more detail: see The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the BBC websites for example. There is a brief autobiography on this BBC web page from 2008. He was an eccentric and an enthusiast. However, he was not just a respected amateur astronomer. He wrote books, included scientific ones as well as fiction, he composed and played music, appeared in comedy and children’s TV programmes and as a young man served in the RAF during World War II. It was then that he loved and lost his sweetheart during an air raid. Subsequently he never married.
Sir Patrick met many amateur astronomers, young and old, as well as famous scientists and pioneers including Orville Wright, Alert Einstein, Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong. His detailed maps of the moon were used by both Russia and America in their lunar missions of the 1960’s. They were also used by the Apollo missions.
Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore OBE FRS, born in Pinner, Middlesex, 4th March 1923, died in Selsey, Sussex, 9th December 2012