Queen-Loving Astronomer Renames Asteroid After Freddie Mercury
This last Sunday, Brain May, the lead guitarist of Queen, announced that “asteroid 17473” — a “3.5 kilometer-wide ball of black rubble” first discovered near Mars in 1991 — has actually been named “Freddiemercury”, after Queen’s deceased bisexual frontman Freddie Mercury.
According to The Guardian, May (who is also a PhD astrophysicist with an asteroid named after him) announced the news via video to 1,200 viewers at party in Switzerland celebrating what would’ve been Mercury’s 70th birthday.
Joel Parker — the astronomer and director at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado who helped arrange the asteroid-naming — made a joke after pointing out that the asteroid is only traveling about 20 kilometers per second. “It’s not quite traveling at the speed of light,” Parker said. “But from an Earth perspective, this certainly has made a supersonic man out of him.”
That’s a reference to a lyric from Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” in case you weren’t aware. You can jam out to the song below, smiling safe in the knowledge that Freddiemercury is burning in the skies above.