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Asteroid named in honour of Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury (Image credit: Getty)

An asteroid has been named after late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre decided to name the celestial object after the singer to mark what would have been his 70th birthday today (September 5).

Queen guitarist Brian May delivered a video message revealing the announcement, which also contains a brief video of AsteroidFreddieMercury17473 moving through space. Watch it below.

May says: “Where’s Freddie’s asteroid? Well, it’s out in the main Asteroid Belt beyond the orbit of Mars and inside the orbit of Jupiter. It’s about 3.5km across and it only reflects about a third of the light which falls upon it, so it’s a dark object – it’s like a cinder in space. It’s a dot of light, but it’s a very special dot of light.

“Happy birthday, Freddie. I’m sure he would have been very happy to see this.”

The asteroid was first discovered in 1991 – the year Mercury died aged 45 from bronchial pneumonia resulting from Aids.

The announcement comes just a few days after the London home where Freddie spent his formative years was awarded a Blue Plaque by English Heritage.

Last week, May said: “What I remember of Freddie is hard to sum up. He was a shy boy and embarrassed of still living with his mum, so he often slept on people’s floors to feel like he had broken away.

“He had an extraordinary capacity to energise people and make them feel excited. We knew he was something very special, he made people feel like they could do it too.”

Freddie Mercury Quiz

Scott Munro

News editor for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. He’s been at the news desk since 2014 and when not writing, he can be found watching baseball and visiting whisky distilleries.