Australian ‘Space Gandalf’ astronomer dies at age 62


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

Greg Quicke from Broome, 2,000km north of Perth, was also known as “Space Gandalf” because of his distinctive white beard.

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

The series included a report from Mr Quicke on why the night sky looks different in Australia than in Britain.

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 earth-turning consciousness.

Mr Quicke was also a renowned tour guide, organizing ‘astro tours’ in his hometown.

He estimated that there had been around 100,000 participants over the past 28 years “including a BBC producer… who plucked me from the bush onto the world stage”.

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

Writing on

“I hope he’s there now.”

Mr. Quicke was diagnosed with cancer in 2023.

A message on his website, published before his death, says: “Due to a number of cosmic, physical and other worldly challenges, our 2024 stargazing season is unavailable, closed, closed, not in progress and not in progress.”

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

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

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

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

In 2017 he told the ABC: “You think about astronomy and often it’s presented as things that are out there.

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

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

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