Queen’s legendary singer Freddie Mercury just celebrated his 70th birthday and bandmate Brian May commemorated the momentous occasion through an awesome space memento-an asteroid. In a video posted on Queen’s official YouTube page, Brian May shared the news with fans and the rest of the world.
“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.” shared May in the video. “Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddie mercury. Published in the September 4th announcements of the Minor Planet Center, operating out of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), this announcement is to recognize Freddie’s outstanding influence in the world.”
The singer-songwriter was behind classic rock opera hits like Bohemian Rhapsody and Bicycle. He was also known for his on and off-stage presence, always bringing about a show wherever he went. Unfortunately, Mercury, who had already been battling AIDS, passed away from bronchial pneumonia, brought about by complications from the autoimmune disease.
Coincidentally, the asteroid named after the singer was also discovered the same year of his passing, in 1991. The space rock(star) passes around the sun at around 20km per second and never comes closer than 350 million kilometers to earth.
The asteroid also reflects only one-third of the sunlight it catches and can only be seen with a very powerful telescope. Like the Freddie Mercury, only a few people may actually be able to see its greatness.
“It’s like a cinder in space as many of these asteroids are,” May shared in the video. “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.”
If we should only be so lucky.
Brian May’s video can be seen below.
Photo Courtesy: Javier Leiva/ Flickr