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An Object in Space Is Now Named, in Part, Mercury — But It’s Not Related to the Planet Mercury; In Fact, It’s Named After a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star

Sep 7, 2016  •  Post A Comment

One of the giants of 1970s rock now shares his name with not one but two celestial bodies. Freddie Mercury, the former lead singer of the 1970s rock group Queen, has been honored by having an asteroid named after him.

Mercury, who died in 1991, already shared his name with the planet Mercury. Now, an asteroid that soars between Mars and Jupiter has been named “Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.”

Former Queen lead guitarist Brian May, who became an astrophysicist following his time in Queen, announced the naming of Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury in a YouTube video posted Sunday, which you can watch below.

The video announcement was part of the Freddie Mercury 70th Birthday Party in Montreux, Switzerland, held Sunday. May noted that the Freddiemercury asteroid is “part of the main asteroid belt” between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and is “about three and a half kilometers across.”

May described the asteroid as a “dark object,” like “a cinder in space.”

“It’s just a dot of light, but it’s a very special dot of light,” May said.

The announcement includes a brief clip of the asteroid at the end of the video, with a soundtrack featuring Queen and Freddie Mercury.

Here’s the announcement …

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