Freddie Mercury described himself as “a shooting star leaping through the sky” and “travelin’ at the speed of light” in Queen’s well known song “Don’t Stop Me Now”. Now, 40 years after the release of the song, an asteroid has been named in honor of what would have been his 70th birthday, which was last Monday, September 5.
Guitarist Brian May, who has a PhD in astrophysics, announced the news. “The Guardian reports that he sent a video messsage to guests at a “Freddie for a Day” party at the Montreux Casino in Montreux, Switzerland. He said that the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planets Center, which is part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., has designated asteroid 17473 as “Freddiemercury””.
The astoroid was discovered by Henri Debehogne in 1991 and moves at 20 kilometers per second, considerably slower than the speed of light.
“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”.
The party’s guests were asked to wear yellow clothes and several of Mercury’s favorite dishes were served.