Queen guitarist Brian May says an asteroid in Jupiter’s orbit has been named after the band’s late frontman Freddie Mercury on what would have been his 70th birthday.
May says the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre has designated an asteroid discovered in 1991, the year of Mercury’s death, as “Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.”
"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."
May, who has a doctorate in astrophysics from Imperial College, London, says the newly named asteroid is “just a dot of light, but it’s a very special dot of light” and recognizes Mercury’s musical and performing talents.
Mercury, born Sept. 5, 1946, wrote and performed hits including Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are The Champions with Queen, releasing over a dozen studio albums between 1973 and 1991.