Asteroid named after Freddie Mercury to celebrate what would have been 70th birthday

In this July 20, 1986 file photo, Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury is shown in Germany. (Marco Arndt/AP Photo)

Monday marks 70 years since the birth of the late music legend Freddie Mercury, and he is being honored in a way that's truly out-of-this-world: an asteroid.

"Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury," Queens guitarist Brian May announced on his website.

The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center officially recognized the name, May said in a video first shown at a party honoring the singer in Switzerland on Sunday. He also showed special footage "debuting" the FreddieMercury asteroid.


May said that the asteroid can only be seen from Earth with a powerful telescope.

"It's just a dot of light, but it's a very special dot of light," May said. "And maybe one day we'll get there."

He also listed other characteristics of the asteroid, such as its length (about 2 miles across) and location (in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter).

Mercury died in 1991, the same year that the asteroid was discovered.

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