Australian Astronomer Known As “Space Gandalf” Passes Away at 62

7th Jun 2024
Australian Astronomer Known As “Space Gandalf” Passes Away at 62

An Australian astronomer Greg Quicke, known for his “Astro Tours”, died at 62. He was called “Space Gandalf” due to his distinctive white beard.

What We Know About “Space Gandalf”?

Greg Quicke hailed from Broome, 2,000km (1,240 miles) north of Perth. Inspired by a program about the Great Barrier Reef, Quicke studied marine biology. But soon he got tired of lab work and set off on his own adventure.

Quicke’s “Astro Tours”

Later, working as a pearl diver in Broome, he became interested in the tides and the moon. This led him to learn more about Earth’s interactions with other celestial bodies. When Quicke realized that people were interested when he talked about his nightly experiences under the stars, he created his famous “Astro Tours”.

In his hometown, he was a renowned tour guide, offering “Astro Tours“. Quicke’s Astro Tours draw both locals and tourists. They were always a bit different, just like the night sky. The tours start between 6 pm and 8 pm, with guests seated in a semi-circle at a moonlit spot in the Kimberley scrub, about 20 minutes from town. Seventeen telescopes of various sizes are set up, ready to explore the sky. Before looking through the telescopes, Quicke shares stories about the stars and planets.

“People really don’t spend much time looking up, and that’s what I wanted to encourage them to do and realise there’s a big, wide world out there,” Quicke said.

Greg Quicke's astrotours
Greg Quicke’s Astro Tours. Credit: Western Australia

“My aim is to create interest and share my knowledge with everyone – kids and adults,” Quicke said.

Astrotours by Space Gandalf
A sample of Astrotours Telescope fleet. Credit: Western Australia

Quicke As An Actor

In the 2017 Stargazing Live Australia series, “Space Gandalf” played the practical astronomer Professor Brian Cox, who focused on theoretical particle physics. The series included a report from Quicke explaining why the night sky appears different in Australia compared to the UK.

Greg Quicke
Greg Quicke used his self-taught astronomy knowledge to become a popular media figure. Credit: BBC

Greg Quicke’s Media Career

Greg Quicke’s media career also encompassed a 10-part series on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) called “A Stargazer’s Guide to the Cosmos.” He has written several books about space, such “Is The Moon Upside Down?” and “Earth Turning Consciousness.”

Sudden Illness

In 2023, Greg Quicke was diagnosed with cancer. A post on his website, published before his death, says: “Due to some cosmic, physical and other worldly challenges our 2024 stargazing season is unavailable, closed, shut, not happening and not happening.”

Rest in peace to the tireless astronomer “Space Gandalf”, who led many people into the wonderful cosmos!

Leave a Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Related Articles

Explore Orbital Today