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article imageQueen's Freddie Mercury would be 70, has asteroid named after him

By Marcus Hondro     Sep 5, 2016 in Music
The International Astronomical Union is throwing some of that crazy little thing called love at the late-Freddie Mercury to mark his 70th birthday. One of the more sparkling stars in rock history, the British singer now has an asteroid named after him.
Freddie Mercury the asteroid
The asteroid formerly known as 17473 is henceforth named 'Freddiemercury.' It is a 3.5km-wide bundle of, well, asteroid, basically consisting of black rubble. On the other side of Mars, 'Freddiemercury' is half-a-billion kilometres from Earth.
The announcement came today, September 5, from Brian May, guitar player from Mercury's iconic British rock band, Queen, as part of Mercury's 70th birthday celebration. The astronomical union has named celestial bodies after musicians and bands before and the list of those so honored includes the Beatles, Frank Zappa, the band Yes and Bruce Springsteen.
Along with being one of rock's great guitarist, May, 69, has a PhD in astrophysics and he had an asteroid named for him in 1998.
Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in what was then the Sultanate of Zanzibar and grew up there and in India (his parents were Parsi). While born a British citizen he did not move to England until he was 17. He died in 1991 at age 45 due to complications from AIDS.
His memory is kept alive by his music and in other ways, such as his appearance in a giant hologram at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics. Queen has a website that features Mercury memorabilia.
"Slightly eccentric" singer
Mercury and May formed Queen in 1970 with bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor and produced multiple hit songs including Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions, We Will Rock You and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. By the 1980s they were known as the biggest stadium rock band in the world and Queen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
The band still exists. Deacon retired but May and Taylor continue touring with singer Adam Lambert and have used a host of singers and players over the past two decades, including Paul Rodgers, formerly of 'Bad Company,' Annie Lennox (briefly), Adam Lambert and Taylor's son, Rufus Tiger Taylor.
Chris Lintott is a professor of astrophysics at Oxford and one of 3 hosts of the BBC monthly documentary astronomy show 'The Sky at Night' and he told the Guardian it is rather fitting that this particular asteroid was chosen to be named after the highly-entertaining Mercury.
"Pleasingly, it’s on a slightly eccentric orbit about the sun," Lintott said. "Just as the man himself was.”
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