Freddie Mercury gets his own asteroid for 70th birthday

first_imgCelebrated Queen front man Freddie Mercury would have turned 70 years old on September 5th. In celebration of Mercury’s life and influence on the world, the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center have come up with a fitting birthday present. Asteroid 17473 will henceforth be officially known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.Mercury’s friend and bandmate Brian May made the announcement in a YouTube video posted on the band’s YouTube channel. May actually finished his PhD in astrophysics in 2007, more than 33 years after he abandoned his doctoral studies at Imperial College London to be a rockstar. Consequently, he’s able to relate some neat scientific information about Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.According to May, Freddie’s asteroid is about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) in diameter. The asteroid is in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, so you can’t get a very good look at it from Earth. The albedo of Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury is only 0.3, meaning it reflects about a third of the light that strikes it. From Earth, it shines at the 14th magnitude; thus, it’s dim and you need a powerful telescope to see it. You can see some footage of the asteroid at the end of the announcement video.Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991 from complications related to AIDS. Even after all the intervening years, Mercury’s musical influence lives on. And now, there’s a celestial body named after him. “It’s just a dot of light,” May says in the video, “but it’s a very special dot of light.”last_img

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