Asteroid named after Freddie Mercury

Asteroid17473Asteroid17473 - Freddie Mercury will be leaping through the sky, as an asteroid named after the Queen singer on what would have been his 70th birthday. The gay superstar will have his name given to Asteroid17473, which was discovered in 1991, the year of his death.

International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre gave the honor.
Brian May, the Queen guitarist, announced the tribute during a party in Switzerland.
‘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,’ said May.‘Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury. This announcement is to recognize Freddie’s outstanding influence in the world.
‘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.’
The rock, which is around two miles across, sits in the main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Joel Parker of the Southwest Research Institute, who worked on the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Mission, and applied for the honor said: ‘The name approved by the IAU is the formal and official name forever to be associated with this asteroid; so, any scientific papers in the future that study this asteroid will refer to it as “17473 Freddiemercury”.
‘Even if you can’t see Freddiemercury leaping through the sky, you can be sure he’s there.’
Reported by Gay Star News

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