By Annie Reuter
Freddie Mercury would have celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday (Sept. 5). To celebrate the late Queen vocalist’s influence and starpower, an asteroid was named after him.
Queen guitarist Brian May revealed the news in a four-minute video on YouTube which also included an image of the asteroid.
“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 in a statement. “Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.”
The asteroid can be found orbiting around Mars and Jupiter and was revealed by the International Astronomical Union during a celebration for the singer in Montreux, Switzerland. Mercury died in November of 1991, the same time that Belgian astronomer Henri Debehogne discovered the asteroid.
“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,” says May in the video. “It’s like a cinder in space as many of these asteroids are. 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.”
Watch here for more information and to see Mercury’s asteroid in orbit.