An asteroid has been named after the late, legendary rock star Freddie Mercury of QUEEN on what would have been his 70th birthday.
“It’s just a dot of light, but it’s a very special dot of light.” That’s how Queen guitarist Brian May describes the asteroid named for his late friend and bandmate Freddie Mercury. “Happy Birthday Freddie!” May wrote on Twitter. “They already named a planet after you, but this little ROCK is a bonus! ha ha.”
Official designation: Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury
The asteroid was officially discovered in the same year Mercury died at age 45. It was dedicated to the Mercury in honor of what would have been his 70th birthday, in a move that May announced in a video shown at a party for Mercury’s Sept. 5 birthday in Montreux, Switzerland
“Viewed from the Earth it is more than 10,000 times fainter than you can see by eye,” May says, “so you need a fair-sized telescope to see it … and that’s why it wasn’t discovered until 1991.”
The official citation includes Mercury’s birth name — Farrokh Bulsara — and says, “His distinctive sound and large vocal range were hallmarks of his performance style, and he is regarded as one of the greatest rock singers of all time.”
May also thanked U.S. astronomer Joel Parker of the Southwest Research Institute for his help in getting an asteroid named for the iconic singer..
Mercury’s asteroid orbits the sun on a path between Mars and Jupiter. Before it got a new name, it was called asteroid 1991 FM3, with the number 17473. It measures around 2 miles across, May wrote.