Greg Quicke, 59, knows a thing or two about astronomy. Well, he’s spent most of his life sleeping in a swag under the stars, runs astronomy tours from Broome, Western Australia, and goes by the nickname ‘Space Gandalf’. That’s why we spoke to Greg, whose new book The Moon Upside Down hit shelves this week, to find out how to get into astronomy, and what must-see space events to look out for while you’re at it.
Before you get into the nitty-gritty, Greg says it’s as simple as lying on your back outside. “My top tip is to go outside and lie on your back under [the] sky,” he advises. “And it will capture you — it’s as simple as that.”
If you’re thinking about purchasing a telescope, Greg recommends investing in a good pair of binoculars first, saying they’re fantastic for stargazing. He says the next step is getting yourself a star chart or planisphere, a simple hand-held device that shows a map of which stars are visible in the night sky at a particular time.
“You can get more serious about it, and [buy] yourself a star chart and get to learn some of the names of those stars,” Greg explains. “After a while, you’ll figure out that not all of them are stars, some of them are planets and then you can figure out how to find [those] planets.”