Hiraeth: Kepler-442b

Phaeton, Melior, Azizos, and Arsu are all planets that orbit red dwarf stars or M-type stars. 442b is the first of the Kepler habitable exoplanets that I’ll be looking at orbiting K-type stars.


These type of stars are main-sequence stars, slightly less bright than our Sun but lasting much longer. Interesting fact, our Sun is a G-type main-sequence star often called a yellow dwarf. As you can probably guess, a K-type star is sometimes referred to as an orange dwarf. Long stable and emitting energy on par with our own star (in fact, less damaging ultraviolet radiation), these orange dwarves are interesting because a planet in its habitable zone stands a good chance for hosting some kind of life. 

I find the possibility of life interesting but less interesting than the fact of the planet. What I mean by this is, a lifeless world that one could stand on, breath, and build holds just as much interest for me than a world teeming with otherly life. But don’t get me wrong, life as we know it and otherly life would be amazing discoveries. And I’m nowhere near saying that some exoplanet is more habitable than our own Earth.


A third larger than Earth, 442b is encouragingly rocky. It’s also somewhat humorous to me the coincidence that it’s year is 112 days long while being 1100 light years away from us. I enjoy the mixture of impossible distance from Earth and quick passage of time such a quality is what has lead me to name Kepler-442b


Pronounced ‘HEER-eyeth,’ Hiraeth is a Welsh word that has no direct English translation. It implies a nostalgia for a place you can’t return to or a home that never was. The idea of place existing only as a suspicion or longing in the mind is how I would imagine human generations on this exoplanet would feel about Earth.

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