Congratulations to a longtime friend of Astronomy magazine, Sir Patrick Moore, now 89, and to the BBC, on this 55th anniversary year of Patrick’s legendary British TV program, The Sky at Night. This show has been part of the fabric of astronomy interest in England for decades, and we’ve often observed how Patrick is to British astronomy on TV what Carl Sagan was for viewers in the United States. The show has influenced countless astronomy enthusiasts to look up at the heavens and even to pursue astronomy as a field of study, including such luminaries as Astronomy magazine Editorial Advisory Board member Brian May, who watched the program as a child.
To celebrate the anniversary, the BBC is holding several special events this year. BBC 1 will air a special episode of the show April 1 titled “Warp factor 55,” which will take viewers on a journey at the speed of light throughout the cosmos, exploring stars, nebulae, and galaxies along the way. On May 6, BBC 1 will air “Moore Marathon,” a show that will feature Patrick’s 55 favorite sky objects.
This last show features online viewer participation, with amateur astronomers able to contribute their observations of the big 55. The BBC is encouraging observers to view these objects and write up observations, using either a quick or a detailed observing form you can download
. Send your observations to the BBC, and they may be included in the show, but only if you send them by April 24! They can be emailed back to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also download a detailed observing guide
to Patrick’s 55 objects, assembled and written by British observer Pete Lawrence.
I’ll continue to update you on the Moore Marathon as the event draws closer. But I encourage deep-sky observers to respond and start observing them right away! Let’s all contribute to make this anniversary year as special as possible for Patrick.