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Freddie Mercury received an asteroid for his 70th birthday

'A shooting star leaping through the sky'

Freddie Mercury would have turned 70 years old today, and to mark the occasion, the late Queen frontman received his very own asteroid. In a YouTube video published on Sunday, Queen guitarist Brian May announced that Asteroid 17473 will from now on be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury, in honor of "Freddie’s outstanding influence in the world."

freddie mercury asteroid

The announcement was formalized yesterday with a certificate of adoption from the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center. The asteroid, discovered in 1991, is located in the main Asteroid Belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. Nearly two miles wide, the asteroid only reflects about 30 percent of the light that falls on it, and can only be seen with powerful telescopes; but it's an appropriate gift for the man who once sang of himself as "a shooting star leaping through the sky."

"It's just a dot of light," May said in the video, "but it's a very special dot of light."