Neal Preston © Queen Productions Ltd.Today marks what would have been the 70th birthday of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. To coincide with the milestone, an asteroid has been named after the late, great singer by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, the official organization in charge of collecting data about small planets and other space objects.

Queen guitarist Brian May officially announced the honor via a taped video message on Sunday that was played during the Freddie for a Day 70th birthday bash, which was held at Montreux Casino in Montreux, Switzerland.

In the clip, May reveals that the asteroid, which was discovered in 1991, has been rechristened Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury, and honors Mercury’s “outstanding influence in the world.” Brian also explains that the asteroid is located in the main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter and is about 3.5 kilometers, or about 2.2 miles, across. May describes the asteroid as a “dark object — rather like a cinder in space,” which you’d need a fairly strong telescope to see.

He adds, “It’s just a dot of light, but it’s a very special dot of light.”

Brian goes on to read the official announcement regarding the designation of the asteroid, which states: “Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara, 1946-1991) was a British songwriter, and the lead singer for 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.”

More than 1,200 people attended the Freddie Mercury 70th birthday party in Montreux, which raised money for the Mercury Phoenix Trust AIDS charity. Mercury died of AIDS on November 24, 1991. He was 45.

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