Lorelei & Khamsa: Kepler-62e & Kepler-62f

There is nothing but hope with the planets in the Kepler-62 star system. Five known planets currently make up the system, and of those, two are enticing. Lisa Kaltenegger of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has called Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f “beautiful blue planets circling an orange star.”


Both 62e and 62f are roughly Earth-sized, 1.6 and 1.4 respectively. Each planet’s year (122 days and 267 days) is more familiar than others in the Kepler habitable zone but still far enough away from ours to make us have to stress the ‘-like’ part of Earth-like than the ‘Earth’ part. Yet both have been called the “Holy Grail of exoplanetology: a system with a rocky or water planet in the habitable zone.” 

Suitable for liquid water doesn’t really mean that these planets have liquid water nor does it in any way justify the speculation that they are both ‘water-worlds.’ Well, rather, the speculation around 62e is that it’s a water-world while 62f is presented as an earth analog. It feels like a vast jump to start speculating just what alien civilization or life would be like on these two planets, yet that’s what many modelers love to do. Part me finds it rather irresponsible but the other half does love the utter fantasy of it, the mind seriously imagining.

Imagined as a water world, Kepler-62e needs a name that would imply this. Looking to German mythology, there is a bend in the Rhine that has been the source of folklore for generations. Lorelei (pronounced ‘lawr-uh-lahy’)  breaks down into ‘murmuring rock,’ which feels appropriate.


Because it is the fifth planet in its system and one hopes for good luck in it being hospitable to life, a token name may be appropriate for Kepler-62f. Something familiar like Khamsa, prounounced ‘khah-meh-sah.’



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