Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has had Asteroid 17473 named after him to mark what would have been his 70th birthday.

Freddie Mercury Asteroid

Asteroid 17473, which was discovered in 1991 – the year that Mercury died – will hereon be known as Asteroid 17473Freddiemercury, according to the BBC. The news was announced by Queen guitarist Brian May at Switzerland’s Montreux Casino.

The renaming of the asteroid marks “Freddie’s outstanding influence in the world,” said May. “And so – for its first appearance in public – Asteroid Freddiemercury – happy birthday Freddie!”

“[The asteroid] is 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 and that’s why it wasn’t discovered until 1991,” said May.


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Joel Parker of the Southwest Research Institute, who issued the certificate of designation, added of the late musician, “Freddie Mercury sang, ‘I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky’ – and now that is even more true than ever before. But even if you can’t see Freddie Mercury leaping through the sky, you can be sure he’s there – ‘floating around in ecstasy’, as he might sing – for millennia to come.”

Over the weekend, May also unveiled an English Heritage plaque at Mercury’s childhood home in Feltham, West London.

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