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Australian ‘Space Gandalf’ astronomer dies at 62

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

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

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

This series features Mr Quicke’s report on why the night sky looks different in Australia than in Britain.

His media career also includes a 10-part series on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) called A Stargazer’s Guide to the Universe and books including Is The Moon Upside Down? and Earth-Moving Consciousness.

Mr. Quicke is also a popular tour guide who runs “astrology tours” in his hometown.

He estimates that over the course of 28 years some 100,000 people took part “including a BBC producer… who took me out of the bushes and onto the world stage”.

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

West Australian journalist Sam Tomlin wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Quicke was “one of the great science communicators of the modern era and a Broome icon”.

Mr. Quicke was diagnosed with cancer in 2023.

A post on his website, published before his death, said: “Due to a number of cosmic, physical and otherworldly challenges, our 2024 stargazing season is unavailable, closed, closed, not happening and not happening.”

This self-taught astronomer often talks about his love of 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’s out there.

“But I think we’re on a planet. We are moving through space.

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


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