Freddie Mercury, asteroid, IAU, Queen
September 5, 2016 would be Freddie Mercury's 70th birthday. Image credit_ Queerty.

IAU renames asteroid to honor Freddie Mercury

To honor the day that would have been Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday, the International Astronomical Union IAU officially renamed an asteroid after the iconic Queen frontman.

Queen’s lead guitarist and Mercury’s intimate friend Brian May announced the honor granted to the late singer in a blog post and YouTube video on Sunday, September 4.

Freddie Mercury famously sang “I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky” in the band’s hit ‘Don’t Stop Me Now.’ The video announcement features footage of the asteroid in motion set to the famous Queen song.

Freddie Mercury passed away nearly 25 years ago

While September 5 marks the day that would be the 70th birthday of Freddie Mercury, two months from now would mark the 25th anniversary of the singer’s death.

Mercury first rose to prominence after the formation of Queen in 1970. Following the release of albums like ‘A Night at the Opera’ and iconic songs like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ the group’s popularity skyrocketed both locally and abroad.

Queen was characterized by its versatile style, experimental at times yet attractive enough to captive audiences in the world’s major stages. Mercury himself, on the other hand, was known for his incredible vocal range and unparalleled showmanship.

Many speculated about the frontman’s sexuality both in life and after his passing. Rumors of Mercury being gay due to its flamboyant style were only echoed further after the press disclosed his positive HIV diagnosis in the late 80s.

Freddie Mercury would confirm the reported diagnosis and further state that he had full-fledged AIDS. The iconic star died two days after the announcement on November 24, 1991.

The entire world celebrates Freddie Mercury’s birthday 

On his YouTube announcement, Brian May claimed the former Asteroid 17473 would be renamed Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury to honor the legacy of ‘Mr. Fahrenheit’. The discovery of the celestial body took place in 1991, the same year the world lost Freddie Mercury.

“Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara, 1946-1991) was a British songwriter and the lead singer of the legendary rock group, Queen. His distinctive sound and large vocal range were hallmarks of his performance style, and he is regarded as one of the greatest rock singers of all time,” reads a citation in the official designation certificate by the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center.

May further described the Asteroid’s qualities and thanked the people responsible for the naming. Brian May himself is an astrophysicist with a Ph.D. from the Imperial College in London and the Asteroid 52665 Brianmay was also named after him for both his contribution to science and culture.

The Asteroid naming concluded a series of celebrations also led by Queen’s guitarist, including the unveiling of a commemorative plaque on Mercury’s childhood home in London this past weekend.

Source: Brian May Blog