The legendary astronomer Sir Patrick Moore has died aged 89; the sky-watcher passed away at his home in Selsey, West Sussex yesterday (December 9, 2012).

Undoubtedly the most famous British astronomer of all-time, Moore hosted his BBC show The Sky At Night for 55 years, missing only one episode through illness even as he got older and had to start presenting the program from his home, after becoming wheelchair-bound. What would turn out to be the final episode was broadcast on the BBC last Monday (December 3). Moore wrote dozens of books on astronomy, with his research being used by NASA and Russia in their space programs, according to the Daily Mail.

Moore’s great success in the field of astronomy came as a surprise given that he’d actually had no formal qualifications; yet his passion and dedication in self-learning about space meant that he was able to possess a great knowledge of it whilst at the same time explain it to television audiences in ways that they comprehend. His interest in astronomy became the focus of his life after his fiancee Lorna was killed aged just 20 in an air raid during World War II, at which point he said “his whole life ended”.

Tributes have come flooding in for Moore as you’d expect. Leading the way was his friend and fellow astronomy enthusiast Brian May of Queen. “Patrick is irreplaceable. There will never be another Patrick Moore. But we were lucky enough to get one” he said. Similar words were expressed by many others, with Professor Brian Cox saying that he had left “a wonderful legacy” behind.