The late LGBT rock star Freddie Mercury would have been 70 years old this week. To mark his birthday, the icon has been honoured by astronomers with a very special posthumous gift.
On Sunday, the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center revealed that it had named an asteroid after the singer, known for classic hits like We Are the Champions, Bohemian Rhapsody and many more.
From now on the dark 3,5 kilometre wide asteroid, numbered 17473, will be known as ‘Freddiemercury’. Located half a billion kilometres from earth in the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter, it was discovered in 1991, the year of his death.
Queen guitarist and Mercury’s bandmate Brian May announced the news in a video. “It’s just a dot of light but it’s a very special dot of light and maybe one day we’ll get there,” he said.
In future, any scientific papers that study the asteroid will officially refer to it as ‘17473 Freddiemercury’.
Mercury was born on the 5th of September 1946 with the name Farrokh Bulsara on the East African island of Zanzibar, to parents of Indian origin.
He went on to become the frontman for the band Queen and one of the great rock legends, thanks to his remarkable voice, songwriting and unique stage presence. Mercury died from AIDS related pneumonia in 1991.