I mean the name of a star followed by the word Prime, used to denote the system's most important/primary inhabited world. For example, Earth would be called Sol Prime using this naming scheme. I've seen it occasionally used in sci-fi, making me wonder where this naming scheme came from.

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    I'd thought at first this might be an astronomy thing and off-topic, turns out it's not, so OK. Commented Feb 22 at 9:36
  • Can you give us an example where that kind of name is used?
    – user14111
    Commented Feb 22 at 11:32
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    it's in The Mote in God's Eye, e.g.: "A ship, Blaine," Buckman said. "From the inhabitable word, Mote Prime. We didn't find it because it was hidden by that damned laser signal."
    – alexg
    Commented Feb 22 at 11:35
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    Dune is older, and has Giedi Prime, but it is not named after its star. Later works may have assumed it was and extended it to a full naming scheme.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Feb 22 at 11:56
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    Salusa secundus e.g. may have been colonized second (citation: guess) because of terraforming or because a harsh planet was needed for training/prison purposes. @SamAzon Commented Feb 22 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


Giedi Prime in Dune 1965.

Alpha1 Capricorni, Latinized from α1 Capricorni, is a distant, binary star system dominated by a highly luminous star in the constellation of Capricornus, north of the ecliptic. It has the traditional star names Prima Giedi (/ˌpraɪmə ˈdʒiːdi/) and Algiedi Prima (/æˈdʒiːdi ˈpraɪmə/).

The name Giedi Prime is used for a fictional planet in Frank Herbert's 1965 science fiction novel Dune. This Giedi Prime is a planet of the star 36 Ophiuchi B, and is the home world of the villainous House Harkonnen.[9]


Alpha 1 Capricorni is about 870 light years from Earth and so at least 850 light years from 36 Ophiuchi. I have no idea why Frank Herbert decided to give a planet orbiting 36 Ophiuchi a name used for a star at least 850 light years away from the planet.

I note that the Emperor's capital planet Kaitain is a planet named Kaitain for some reason or a planet orbiting a star named Kaitain and named after its star. Kaitain is a name for the star Alpha Piscum so I always wondered whether Herbert intended for Kaitain to orbit Alpha Piscum.

When I tried to do a 3-D star map of Dune I found some of Herbert's names frustrating.

I note that I always interpreted Cardassia Prime as being named as the capital planet of the Cardassian Union and probably their homeland.

What was the shortest name of the Roman Empire? Romania, meaning Roman Land. And I find it annoying that the modern Romanians spell their country Romania instead of Rumania. So the name Cardassia should mean the home of the Cardassians.

I never thought that Cardassia prime was named after the star Cardassia in any way. I always interpreted Cardassia Prime as meaning the prime planet of the Cardassian species.

If Earth was named Humania Prime, people wouldn't think that meant the Sun, Sol, was named Humania and that Earth was the most important planet orbiting Humania. Instead they would think that "Humania" meant a world inhabited by Humans and that "Humania Prime" meant that Earth was either the original planet of Humans or else the most important Human-inhabited world.

  • Thanks for this overview. I'll wait a few more days and mark this as correct if noone else finds an earlier example than 1965.
    – Mash
    Commented Feb 24 at 8:43

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