About Will

Will Gater is an astronomer, writer, astrophotographer and science presenter.

His journalistic news reporting and feature writing has appeared in New Scientist, BBC Sky at Night Magazine, Physics World, Focus and Astronomy Now, among others.

He is the author of several popular astronomy books – including The Cosmic Keyhole and The Night Sky Month by Month – and is the co-author of The Practical Astronomer and Nature Guide: Stars and Planets. His first book for a younger audience, The Mysteries of the Universe, was published by Dorling Kindersley in 2020 and reached the no. 1 spot on Amazon UK’s list of best-selling children’s astronomy titles.

At the heart of Will’s work is a passion for communicating the wonders of the Universe to all. In 2019, the Exeposé newspaper described him as “one of the current generation of ‘rock star’ science popularisers.”

Meeting the James Webb Space Telescope’s MIRI instrument

He has made numerous guest appearances on television and radio to talk about astronomy and space, including on Channel 5’s The Gadget Show, The Sky at Night and BBC One’s The One Show as well as Sky News, BBC News and the BBC World Service.

He has also worked behind the camera as the astronomy researcher on the BBC’s long-running stargazing series The Sky at Night and has hosted live web shows for the US educational project Slooh.com, which featured real-time broadcasts of major space events alongside interviews with astronauts, scientists and other astronomers.

On top of his efforts to bring to life science & astronomy in the media, Will has been giving public lectures around Europe – at events ranging from star parties to conferences, and even music festivals – for over twenty years. In 2016 he performed his first live theatre show – The Story of the Solar Systemwhich went on to successfully tour several UK venues, including a number of sold-out dates.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and has a degree in astrophysics from University College London. He is also a member of the UK Fireball Alliance, a group of researchers, astronomers & other experts dedicated to recovering meteorites that’ve recently fallen in the UK.

Will began his career as a professional science writer in 2006 and went on to work as the news editor of Astronomy Now magazine. In 2008 he joined the BBC’s Sky at Night Magazine where he worked for nearly six years before going freelance in 2013. His reporting has covered the whole gamut of celestial subjects, from planetary science and human spaceflight to astrophysics and observational astronomy. In late 2022 Will took up a new role within the UK space sector, helping to promote space research, exploration and innovation.

Will Gater observing in Kos
Imaging the 2012 transit of Venus from Kos, Greece

He has also written press and outreach materials for the European Space Agency’s Hubble Space Telescope press office and the European Southern Observatory, and was the assistant editor of the first issue of the International Astronomical Union’s Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal.

One of Will’s lunar sketches made at the eyepiece.

Will is an experienced astrophotographer & observational astronomer and can often be found imaging under the dark skies of the West Country, where he grew up and lives today.

His pictures have appeared in books, magazines and on television all over the world, and he sat on the judging panel for the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition for ten years, from its launch in 2009 until 2018.

Though today he is immersed in the world of digital astrophotography, Will is also a passionate promoter of visual observing and drawing at the telescope eyepiece; he has a particular interest in sketching the Moon with pastels.

His lifelong fascination with the night sky and love of the outdoors has led him on many adventures seeking out some of nature’s most awe-inspiring celestial sights, from planetary transits and eclipses to the Northern Lights and the occasional bright comet. He’s helped lead successful trips to see total solar eclipses – including from a rain-lashed hillside in the Faroe Islands and an extinct volcano in the US – and has worked as one of the guest astronomers on Omega Holidays’ Northern Lights flights, which go in search of the aurora from the air.

When not looking at the stars, he spends his spare time hill walking, painting, and fossil hunting on Dorset’s spectacular Jurassic Coast.

Visiting the ‘Leviathan’ telescope at Birr Castle in Ireland.