(17473) 1991 FM3

17473 Freddiemercury
Discovery [1]
Discovered byH. Debehogne
Discovery siteLa Silla Obs.
Discovery date21 March 1991
(17473) Freddiemercury
Named after
Freddie Mercury
(British musician)[2]
1991 FM3 · 1982 VC9
1999 JE127
main-belt · (inner)
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc34.48 yr (12,593 days)
Aphelion2.7627 AU
Perihelion2.0180 AU
2.3903 AU
3.70 yr (1,350 days)
0° 16m 0.12s / day
Physical characteristics
Dimensions3.435±0.374 km[1][4]

17473 Freddiemercury, provisional designation 1991 FM3, is a stony Massalian asteroid from the inner regions asteroid belt, approximately 3.4 kilometers in diameter. The asteroid was discovered on 21 March 1991, by Belgian astronomer Henri Debehogne at ESO's La Silla Observatory in northern Chile, and later named in memory of Freddie Mercury.[2]

Classification and orbit[]

Freddiemercury is a member of the Massalia family (404),[3] a large family of stony S-type asteroids with low inclinations in the inner main belt. It orbits the Sun at a distance of 2.0–2.8 AU once every 3 years and 8 months (1,350 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.16 and an inclination of 1° with respect to the ecliptic.[1]

The body's observation arc begins 9 years prior to its official discovery observation, with its identification as 1982 VC9 at Crimea–Nauchnij in November 1982.[2]

Physical characteristics[]

According to the survey carried out by the NEOWISE mission of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, Freddiemercury measures 3.4 kilometers in diameter and its surface has a high albedo of 0.313.[4]

As of 2017, the asteroid's exact composition, as well as its rotation period and shape remain unknown.[1][5]


On 4 September 2016, one day before what would have been Freddie Mercury's 70th birthday, the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center named the asteroid after Mercury, as it was discovered the same year as Mercury's death, (M.P.C. 101215)[6] and its provisional designation included his initials, FM. The approved naming was announced by Mercury's Queen bandmate Brian May at Montreux Casino to mark Mercury's 70th birthday.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 17473 (1991 FM3)" (2017-05-02 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "17473 (1991 FM3)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury – Nesvorny HCM Asteroid Families V3.0". Small Bodies Data Ferret. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Masiero, Joseph R.; Mainzer, A. K.; Grav, T.; Bauer, J. M.; Cutri, R. M.; et al. (November 2012). "Preliminary Analysis of WISE/NEOWISE 3-Band Cryogenic and Post-cryogenic Observations of Main Belt Asteroids". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 759 (1): 5. arXiv:1209.5794. Bibcode:2012ApJ...759L...8M. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/1/L8. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  5. ^ "LCDB Data for (17473) Freddiemercury". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  6. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Freddie Mercury: Asteroid named after late Queen star to mark 70th birthday". BBC News. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  8. ^ "A shooting star leaping through the sky: asteroid named after Freddie Mercury on '70th birthday'". Telegraph. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2017.

External links[]