2012 was a sad year. We lost Neil Armstrong, Sir Bernard Lovell and, in December, Sir Patrick Moore.
For anyone who grew up in the UK, Patrick was synonymous with astronomy. He presented the Sky At Night from a few months before the launch of Sputnik in 1957 right up to and including the current episode which was filmed just before his death. His books and TV appearances got many amateur and professional astronomers into the subject when they were children.
I only met Patrick on three occasions and each one was memorable. The first time I was a student helper at the International Astronomical Union General Assembly in Manchester. He was the editor of the daily newsletter and I had a brief chat with him before needing to go off and let the people choosing a committee to name craters* know that if they didn't hurry up they'd get locked in the building over night. The second time was when the Sky At Night visited us at Jodrell Bank to film for the 50th anniversary of the Lovell Telescope. The third time was at Farthings when I stood in for Chris North once.
I may not have known him well but I know quite a few people that did. He was greatly loved and will be greatly missed. His final episode finished with several clips of him closing the show with "goodnight" over the decades. It was very fitting. Goodnight Patrick.
Sir Patrick & Sir Bernard at Jodrell Bank in September 2007 CREDIT: Stuart
* Actually, it may have been a meeting to choose a committee that would choose another committee to name the craters. It was that sort of meeting.