Asteroid named after Freddie Mercury to commemorate singer’s 70th birthday

LONDON, Sept. 5 (UPI) — Late rock legend Freddie Mercury has had an asteroid named after him to commemorate what would have been the singer’s 70th birthday.

The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre has named Asteroid17473 after the former Queen frontman, who once sang sang he was “a shooting star leaping through the sky” in his band’s hit Don’t Stop Me Now.

The asteroid was discovered the year Mercury died in 1991.

Mercury follows in the footsteps of the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen in having the asteroid

Queen guitarist and now astrophysicist Brian May announced the designation at a fundraiser in Switzerland Saturday for the Mercury Phoenix Trust celebrating Mercury’s birthday.

Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury is no threat to Earth.

“It’s in the main Asteroid Belt, out between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and is about 3 and a half km across,” May said in the announcement.

“It has an albedo of about 0.3 – which means it only reflects about 30 per cent of the light that falls on it. Like many asteroids, it’s 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.”

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