The Late, Great Freddie Mercury has an Asteroid Named after Him on 70th Birthday

Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury (encircled)(Photo : IAU)
Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury (encircled)(Photo : IAU)
Freddie Mercury, the British educated Zoroastrian born in Zanzibar consistently voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music, has received an out of this world gift on his 70th birthday on Sept. 5: an asteroid named in his honor.

The announcement was made by Mercury’s friend, Queen guitarist Dr. Brian May, CBE, PhD FRAS, also a Doctor of Astrophysics.

“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,” said Dr. May.

“Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.”
Dr. May made the announcement in Switzerland during an event to remember the iconic singer.

“This is to recognize Freddie’s outstanding influence in the world,” said Dr. May.
Freddie’s asteroid, which has a diameter of 3-1/2 kilometers, orbits around Mars and Jupiter in the main Asteroid Belt. It was discovered in 1991, the year of Mercury’s death from bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS.

The International Astronomical Union said Mercury was given the honor because ‘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.’

The asteroid Freddiemercury orbits 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 won’t ever smash into the Earth.

Dr. May also has an asteroid named after him, Asteroid Brianmay. Dr. May is also one of the co-founders of Asteroid Day, an annual global awareness movement that brings people from around the world together to learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect the Earth.

Mercury, May and Roger Taylor formed the famous rock band “Queen” in 1970. Mercury was the band’s lead vocalist and co-principal songwriter known for his outrageous stage persona and four-octave vocal range.

“It’s a dark object — rather like a cinder in space. Viewed from the Earth, it is more than 10,000 times fainter than you can see by eye, so you need a fair sized telescope to see it,” said Dr. May.

“It’s just a dot of light but it’s a very special dot of light and maybe one day we’ll get there.”

Published on ChinaTopix