Asteroid 17473 a 3.5km-wide celestial object on the other side of Mars, will be named after the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Queen’s Brian May made the announcement on Monday, which would have been Mercury’s 70th birthday.
May, who has a PhD in astrophysics and an asteroid named after him already, revealed the name by video message to more than 1200 guests at the “Freddie for a Day” party at the Montreux Casino on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Behind the venue is the band’s former studio where Queen recorded a host of songs, from Under Pressure with David Bowie to Who Wants To Live Forever?
Discovered in 1991 by the Belgian astronomer Henri Debehogne, the freshly-named asteroid swings around the sun at 20km per second. Its slightly elliptical orbit never comes closer than 350 million kilometres to Earth, meaning that the heavenly body called Freddiemercury poses no imminent danger to the planet.