Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has become a literal rock star after an asteroid travelling between Mars and Jupiter was named after him on his birthday this year.
The band’s guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May announced the honour in a YouTube video coinciding with a posthumous 70th birthday celebration for Freddie in Switzerland.
May explained the Freddiemercury asteroid measured roughly 3.5 kilometres across and is located in an asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre named the asteroid, which was first discovered in 1991, the year Freddie died.
“It’s like a cinder in space, as many of these asteroids are,” May said.
“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.”
Astronomer Joel Parker, director of the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, applied for the name and told The Guardian: “Freddie Mercury sang, ‘I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky’ — and now that is even more true than ever before.
“Even if you can’t see Freddiemercury leaping through the sky, you can be sure he’s there – ‘floating around in ecstasy,’ as he might sing, for millennia to come.”
Watch Brian May’s announcement below:
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