Queen guitarist Brian May says an asteroid in Jupiter’s orbit has been named after the band’s late frontman Freddie Mercury on what would have been his 70th birthday.

May says the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre has designated an asteroid discovered in 1991, the year of Mercury’s death, as “Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.”

Brian May of Queen (Felipe Dana/AP)

May, who has a doctorate in astrophysics from Imperial College, London, says the newly-named asteroid is “just a dot of light, but it’s a very special dot of light” and recognises Mercury’s musical and performing talents.

Freddie, who was born on September 5 1946, wrote and performed hits including Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are The Champions with Queen, releasing more than a dozen studio albums between 1973 and 1991.