Fri. Mar 24th, 2023
We'll rock you in space: asteroid named after Queen's Freddie Mercury

Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Today marks the 70th birthday of legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, and to celebrate, an asteroid nearly half a billion miles away has been named after the late singer. the sky.”

Queen guitarist/astrophysicist Brian May, supported by the International Astronomical Union, announced that asteroid 17473 – a 3.5 km wide debris ball currently located in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars – will now be known as asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury, in honor of “Freddie’s extraordinary influence in the world.”

Discovered in 1991 by Belgian astronomer Henri Debehogne, the asteroid Freddiemercury revolves around the sun at a speed of 20 km per second. Its elliptical orbit never gets closer than 350 million kilometers to Earth, while its surface reflects only about 30 percent of the light that falls on it, making it difficult to see without the aid of a powerful telescope. “It’s just a bright spot,” May said in a YouTube video, “but it’s a very special bright spot.”

Queen’s Brian May introduces the asteroid Freddie Mercury.

Mercury becomes the second member of Queen to have an asteroid named after them, after asteroid 52665 Brianmay, which was first seen in 1998. May is indeed an avid asteroid enthusiast and has joined the European Space Agency to celebrate Asteroid Day. launch. 2016 back in June. Asteroid Day encouraged the public to host asteroid viewing events in an effort to “raise awareness” of the threat that near-Earth objects can pose to the planet.

Mercury joins The Beatles, Enya, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin, Yes, Bruce Springsteen and Vanessa Mae, who are all named after them. “I love naming an asteroid after Freddie Mercury,” Chris Lintott, professor of astrophysics at Oxford and presenter of The Sky at Night, told the BBC. Guardian. “Fortunately, it is in a slightly eccentric orbit around the sun, just like the man himself.”

And in case you were wondering, the planet Mercury — which is composed of heavy metals and rock, appropriately enough — may be about 140 million miles from Earth at its farthest point. It’s up to you to calculate the approximate distance between Mercury and the Freddiemercury.

Frame image by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

By akfire1

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