As far as I am concerned, it was the party of the year, held at Sir Patrick Moore’s house to celebrate fifty years of The Sky at Night. I think I recall watching the first one, on our tiny little telly, too. It was heaven if you are interested in the heavens, and I can’t recall a time when I have had so many interesting conversations one after the other, particularly with two guys who’s hobby is keeping an eye on what’s happening on the International Space Station. Sir Patrick was kind enough to allow me to name my observatory after him, too.
A note to Americans and people of an abroad persuasion; Patrick Moore, who probably breaks every rule in any modern book of TV presenting, has been the voice of astronomy on UK television for decades. He is a main sequence astronomer, having started out quite small, but now an impressive somewhat magisterial shape. He must have attracted thousands of people to the hobby and the show is the longest running show on British TV. His enthusiasm for the science is so big and solid that you could wreck ships on it and it is catching. One of the things that got me started was his Guide to the Moon, which I definitely needed because my little telescope couldn’t really see anything else.
Small piece of celebrity gossip: Cheeky Girl Gabriela Irimia was there on the arm of Lembit Öpik, whose grandfather was the renowned Estonian astronomer Ernst Öpik, commemorated in the name of an asteroid and the Öpik-Oort Cloud of comets (that he postulated in 1932). I think we also spotted Bill Wyman and Myleene Klass who is studying Astronomy at the Open University.