KYOTO--Lead Queen guitarist Brian May did his part to ensure that a nearly century-old astronomical observatory here doesn't bite the dust.

May, 72, urged the preservation of Kyoto University’s Kwasan Observatory in Kyoto’s Yamashina Ward on a visit on Jan. 27, as he was giving a concert tour in Japan.

His visit came about after people working for the preservation of the facility texted the rock star, who has a Ph.D. in astrophysics, beseeching his help with their efforts.

On Jan. 27, the Briton spent two hours touring the observatory after he arrived at around 5 p.m. He casually shook hands with people and chatted with the staff and signed his name on the mount of a 45-centimeter refracting telescope, with the expression “forever.”

The observatory has inspired many stargazers since it was installed at Mount Kazan in 1929, winning a reputation as a holy site for amateur astronomers.

But the future of the Kwasan Observatory became cloudy as officials began considering closing the facility after the university built a new astronomical observatory.

The survival of the Kwasan Observatory was guaranteed for nine more years after Tadano Ltd., a crane manufacturer based in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, donated 100 million yen ($917,400) to the university during the current fiscal year to help fund operations of the aged facility.

As for the observatory's future beyond that point, nobody knows.

May pushed for its preservation.

“Keep this place open," he said. "This is precious. This is history. This is science. And this is encouragement and inspiration for your children.”