Freddie Mercury gets namesake asteroid

Deceased Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, has had an asteroid named after him.

James Smith | Oct 12, 2016

DeceasedQueen frontman, Freddie Mercury, has had an asteroid named after him.

Mercury, who died in 1991 of Bronchopneumonia (a complication of having contracted AIDS) would have been 70 on Monday.

As a birthday gift, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist, Brian May, announced that an asteroid has been named after Mercury.

"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 May in a statement. "Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury."

May worked with the International Astronomical Union in naming the asteroid and made the announcement at a celebration of the life of Mercury in Montreux, Switzerland.

The asteroid, which orbitsMars and Jupiter, has been named Freddiemercury and was discovered by Belgian astronomer, Henri Debehogne, around the time of the death of the legendary singer.

According toThe Guardian, Freddiemercury is almost certain to never threaten an impact with earth. Although it passesthe sun at 20 km per second, it circuits on an elliptical orbit and never comes any closer to the earth than 350 million km.

"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," explained May, who also received his own asteroid, Brianmay. "It's like a cinder in space as many of these asteroids are," explainedMay. "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."




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