News — September 6, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Freddie Mercury has asteroid named after him to commemorate 70th birthday


To mark what would have been Queen singer Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday, the enigmatic frontman has had an asteroid named after him.


Whilst always larger than life, Mercury brings new meaning to the word meteoric as he has an asteroid named after him. The news was delivered by by Queen’s guitarist Brian May, who in addition to being one of the world’s most respected guitarists, also happens to be an astrophysicist.


“I’m happy to be able to announce that the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center has today designated Asteroid 17473, discovered 1991, in Freddie’s name, timed to honor his 70th Birthday,” May said. “Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.”



As The Guardian notes, Freddiemercury swings around the sun at 20 kilometers per second at a slightly elliptical orbit that never comes closer than 350 million kilometers to Earth; because of its course, Freddiemercury promises to never threaten Earth with impact.


“Where is Freddie’s Asteroid? It’s in the main Asteroid Belt, out between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and is about 3 and a half km across,” said May in the YouTube video. “It’s like a cinder in space as many of these asteroids are,” he continued. “You need a pretty decent telescope to see it. It’s just a dot of light but it’s a very special dot of light and maybe one day we’ll get there.”


Southwest Research Institute Joel Parker added, “Singer Freddie Mercury sang, ‘I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky’ – and now that is even more true than ever before… Even if you can’t see Freddiemercury leaping through the sky, you can be sure he’s there – ‘floating around in ecstasy,’ as he might sing, for millennia to come.”