Asteroid named after Freddie Mercury to mark his 70th birthday

6 Sep 2016

In a fitting tribute, a shooting star has been named after the immortal Queen front man Freddie Mercury

We all know Freddie Mercury was a star, but now the Queen frontman has had an asteroid named in his honour to mark what would have been his 70th birthday.

Queen guitarist Brian May revealed that an asteroid previously entitled Asteroid 17473 will now be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.

The asteroid was first discovered in 1991, the year Freddie Mercury died.

May said the naming of the asteroid was in honour of “Freddie’s outstanding influence on the world.”

‘It’s just a dot of light, but it’s a very special dot of light’

The naming of the asteroid was formalised yesterday with a certificate from the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Centre.

Queen guitarist Brian May is now Dr Brian May after he achieved a PhD in Astrophysics from London’s Imperial College.

I’m a shooting star, leaping through the sky

The asteroid is located in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars.

Two miles wide, the asteroid only reflects 30pc of the light that falls on it and can only bee seen with powerful telescopes.

Viewed from Earth, the asteroid is more than 10,000 times fainter than what can be seen by the human eye.

For Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, a singer who enchanted the world with numerous hits such as Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody and who sang “I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky” in Don’t Stop Me Now, the asteroid is a fitting tribute.

In a YouTube video marking the occasion, May said: “It’s just a dot of light, but it’s a very special dot of light.”

Statue image of Freddie Mercury in Montreux image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years