Australian ‘Gandalf Space’ astronomer dies at 62

An Australian astronomer who appeared on BBC’s Stargazing Live alongside Professor Brian Cox has died aged 62.

Greg Quicke from Broome, 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) north of Perth, was also known as “Space Gandalf” for his distinctive white beard.

In the 2017 series Stargazing Live Australia he played the practical astronomer to theoretical particle physicist Professor Cox.

The series featured a report from Mr Quicke on why the night sky looks different in Australia compared to the UK.

His media career also included a 10-part series on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) called A Stargazers Guide to the Cosmos and books including Is The Moon Upside Down? and Consciousness that rotates the Earth.

Quicke was also a renowned tour guide and conducted “astrotours” in his hometown.

He estimated that over 28 years there were around 100,000 participants “including a BBC producer… who took me out of the bush and onto the world stage”.

Professor Cox said he was “very sad” to hear of his former colleague’s death.

Writing in

“I hope he’s where he is now.”

Mr. Quicke was diagnosed with cancer in 2023.

A post on his website, published before his death, reads: “Due to some cosmic, physical and other challenges, our 2024 stargazing season is unavailable, closed, closed, not happening and not happening.” “.

Several people who attended his tours have paid tribute to him on social media, including Sydney’s Chris Ross, who described him as “a treasured memory”.

Western Australian journalist Sam Tomlin wrote in X that Quicke was “one of the great science communicators of the modern era.”

He was a “rare breed of nothing but good vibes” who had “made Broome a better place to be”, tourism organization Destination Broome added on Facebook.

The self-taught astronomer often spoke of his love for helping people better understand the night sky.

Speaking to the ABC in 2017, he said: “You think about astronomy and it’s often presented as something that exists.

“But my opinion is that we are on a planet. We are moving through space.

“These are things I can get out of your head and I can put them at your feet.”

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