Black hole named ‘Powehi’ by Hawaii university professor

  • Black hole named ‘Powehi’ by Hawaii university professor

Black hole named ‘Powehi’ by Hawaii university professor

Powehi means "embellished dark source of unending creation", according to a university press release. "Years ago, we thought we would have to build a very large space telescope to image a black hole".

"As soon as he said it, I almost fell off my chair", Jessica Dempsey, deputy director of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, told the Honolulu Star Advertiser. The cosmic object's new moniker comes from the Kumulipo, an 18th century chant describing the creation of the Hawaiian universe. The name is composed of two terms from this historic chant: Po, which means profound dark source of unending creation, and wehi (wehiwehi), which is one of the many ways that explains Po in the chant.

A Hawaiian name was defended on the grounds that the venture included two Hawaii telescopes, astronomers said. While not official, the name seems to be sticking. "To have the privilege of giving a Hawaiian name to the very first scientific confirmation of a black hole is very meaningful to me and my Hawaiian lineage that comes from pō". Jessica Dempsey, a co-discoverer of the black hole, says the word is an excellent match for the scientific description she provided to Kimura.

'Powehi, as a name, is so ideal, because it provides real truths about the image of a black hole that we see, ' Jessica Dempsey of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, said in a video released by the University of Hawaii about the naming. It's everything that a name for the fist black hole seen by us mere humans should be.

The groundbreaking, first-ever photograph of a black hole was published around the world when it was unveiled on Wednesday, captivating viewers and providing the only direct visual evidence that these regions of spacetime exist. The project gathered 5,000 trillion bytes of data in two weeks, which was then processed through supercomputers for scientists. Anything that passes its point of no return will be consumed, "never to re-emerge", as the black hole's "unimaginably strong gravity" takes hold.

The image shows the "shadow of the supermassive black hole in the center of Messier 87, an elliptical galaxy some 55 million light-years from Earth". The black hole is also more variable than Powehi, which makes it more hard to image, but researchers are now optimistic.