On what would have been his 70th birthday, Freddie Mercury had an asteroid named after him. How appropriate!
The former Queen frontman died on September 5, 1991 aged 45 from bronchial pneumonia – a lung condition – that he contracted as a result of already being ill with AIDS, which interferes with the immune system.
Now, as a 70th birthday present to the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ hitmaker, the International Astronomical Union has named an asteroid after him.
Fellow bandmate and ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ guitarist Brian May, 69, made the announcement on Sunday via a filmed message, which was shown to 1,250 fans who gathered at Montreux Casino in Switzerland to celebrate the late legend’s birthday.
He said: “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.
“Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury. 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 asteroid was discovered in 1991 – the year of Freddie’s death – and orbits between Mars and Jupiter and measures 3.5km across.
Brian also noted that he had been given an “adoption” certificate by the International Astronomical Union to commemorate the event.
He said: “We have a nice certificate of ‘adoption’ issued by the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center, which says: This name is in honour of Freddie Mercury, with the following citation: Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara, 1946-1991) was a British songwriter, and the lead singer for the legendary rock group Queen.
“His distinctive sound and large vocal range were hallmarks of his performance style, and he is regarded as one of the greatest rock singers of all time.”
Joel Parker of the Southwest Research Institute, who issued the Certificate of Designation, added: “Singer Freddie Mercury sang, ‘I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky’ – and now that is even more true than ever before. Today in celebration of his 70th birthday, an asteroid has been named Freddiemercury in honor of the charismatic singer for the band Queen.”
photo credit: Bang Media