Moore hailed as an 'inspiration'
Tributes have been paid to the "irreplaceable" astronomer Sir Patrick Moore who died today aged 89.
The eccentric broadcaster passed away peacefully this afternoon at his home in Selsey, West Sussex, after being struck down by an infection.
His friend, Queen guitarist Brian May, said the world had "lost a priceless treasure that can never be replaced".
Sir Patrick inspired successive generations of stargazers with his television series The Sky At Night and wrote more than 60 books on astronomy. He celebrated the 55th anniversary of the BBC programme in April, with it becoming the longest running television series with the same presenter.
Sir Patrick only missed one episode since it began in 1957, when he suffered a severe bout of food poisoning in 2004 which nearly killed him. The last programme was broadcast just last Monday.
Speaking at a party to celebrate the 55th anniversary of The Sky At Night, he said he hoped the stargazing series would continue "indefinitely". He said: "I'm absolutely staggered. I never thought when I began doing television shows that I'd be on for another year, let alone 55 years.
"I didn't know if I was going to be good enough or if the subject matter would hold up. I think I'm exactly the same now as I was when I started. I just haven't got the voice I once had."
May, who co-wrote two books with Sir Patrick, paid tribute to a "dear friend and a kind of father figure to me". He said: "Patrick will be mourned by the many to whom he was a caring uncle, and by all who loved the delightful wit and clarity of his writings, or enjoyed his fearlessly eccentric persona in public life.
"Patrick is irreplaceable. There will never be another Patrick Moore. But we were lucky enough to get one."
Professor Brian Cox, who presents a number of science programmes for the BBC, wrote on Twitter: "Very sad news about Sir Patrick. Helped inspire my love of astronomy. I will miss him!"