Today was a truly momentous day! We were invited to Sir Patrick Moore’s house to meet the great man and join him for coffee and cakes. This was organised for last week, through a mutual friend who Doug plays cards with, but due to filming schedules it couldn’t happen until today. Sir Patrick has lived in Selsey for half a century and for a long time now The Sky at Night programme has been recorded in his study and from the observatories in his garden.
We joined him in his study for a chat and a coffee and he answered a number of James’ questions on astronomy and discussed the remarkable achievements of the Mars Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) and Voyagers 1and 2; Voyager 1 is now 11 billion miles from earth after being launched 34 years’ ago. It is still sending back information and is about to leave the solar system and travel into interstellar space. We also chatted to him about our narrow boat and canal adventures and he said that it was one thing he would like to have done himself but didn’t have the ‘chance’.
He is a really lovely man and, although very advanced in years now, he still has an incredibly active mind. One of the great scientific “movers and shakers” of our age he’s like the Voyager spacecraft – well past his design life but still going strong!
Friend and fellow astrologer John Fletcher of the Mount Tuffley Observatory in Gloucester, who was also visiting him today, kindly took us to see Sir Patrick’s famous 15 inch telescope in one of the observatories in his garden.
We went back to the house for a further chat before leaving this very busy man to get on with his schedule. We had a fantastic experience today and he has very kindly invited us to go back.