The International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center (IAU) has officially renamed the 1991 FM3 asteroid to (17473) Freddiemercury in honor of the late, great Freddy Mercury of Queen. Bandmate and astrophysicist Dr. Brian May made a heartfelt announcement of the designation via video during a bittersweet celebration of what would have been Mercury’s 70th birthday.
Where’s Freddie’s asteroid? Well, it’s out in the main asteroid belt beyond the orbit of Mars and inside the orbit of Jupiter it’s about three and a half kilometers across
it has an albedo of about .3 which means it only reflects about one-third of the light which falls upon it. So it’s a dark object, it’s like a cinder in space as many of these asteroids are. From the earth, it shines at the 14th magnitude, which means you have to have a pretty decent telescope to see it but it’s just a dot of light but it’s a very special dot of light and maybe one day we’ll get there.
Asteroid named after the great Freddie Mercury for his would-be 70th birthday (CC @DrBrianMay) ?Don't stop me now!? https://t.co/Ca4muMvqOP
— Minor Planet Center (@MinorPlanetCtr) September 5, 2016
Happy 70th Birthday Freddie! pic.twitter.com/UDY2i6t23f
— Queen (@QueenWillRock) September 4, 2016