Asteroid Named After Freddie Mercury in Honor of His 70th Birthday

Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

September 5 marked what would have been the 70th birthday of former Queen front man and rock icon Freddie Mercury. The event was celebrated with an announcement well-suited to the late singer’s larger-than-life personality: During the festivities, Queen guitarist—and astrophysicist—Brian May reported the naming of an asteroid in honor of the musician, The Guardian reports.

Asteroid 17473, now officially known as “Freddiemercury,” is located more than 200 million miles from Earth in the main asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. The 2.2-mile-wide space rock orbits the Sun at about 12 miles per second and reflects only a third of the star’s light. That makes the object only 1/10,000th of the brightness capable of being seen by the naked eye, so fans wishing to catch a live glimpse of Mercury’s asteroid will need a quality telescope to do so.

The newly christened asteroid was revealed at the “Freddie for a Day” party at the Montreux Casino on Lake Geneva in Switzerland on Sunday, September 4. Brian May—who has an asteroid of his own as well as a Ph.D. in astrophysics—made the announcement via video. The official certificate from the International Astronomical Union reads: “[Freddy Mercury’s] 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.”

To see Freddiemercury leaping through the sky like a tiger, watch Brian May’s announcement below.

[h/t The Guardian]

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