Asteroid named after rock star Freddie Mercury

Asteroid named after rock star Freddie Mercury

Asteroid named after rock star Freddie Mercury

An asteroid has been named after rock star Freddie Mercury, lead vocalist of the British rock band Queen, to mark what would have been the singer's 70th birthday.

The Asteroid 17473, which was discovered in 1991 - the year Freddie died, will henceforth be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.

The honour marked "Freddie's outstanding influence in the world," Queen guitarist Brian May said to a gathering of 1,250 fans who were celebrating the singer's 70th birth anniversary at Montreux Casino in Switzerland.

Issuing the certificate of designation, Joel Parker of the Southwest Research Institute in the US said the asteroid was a celebration for a "charismatic singer".

"Freddie Mercury sang, 'I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky' - and now that is even more true than ever before," Parker was quoted as saying by the 'BBC News'.

A certificate issued by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the Minor Planet Centre, said that "the name is in honour of Freddie Mercury".

"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," the certificate said.

The Freddie Mercury asteroid is situated in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter and that it measured about three and a half kilometre across.

"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 and that's why it wasn't discovered until 1991," May told the gathering via a filmed message.

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