The first-ever chronicled black hole gets Hawaiian moniker

  • The first-ever chronicled black hole gets Hawaiian moniker

The first-ever chronicled black hole gets Hawaiian moniker

An online petition created on, "Name the black hole after Chris Cornell", neared its goal of 35,000 signatures Saturday, three days since being launched after scientists broke ground by imaging a celestial phenomena millions of light-years from Earth.

"Powehi, as a name, is so ideal, because it provides real truths about the image of a black hole that we see", Dempsey said in a video released by the University of Hawaii about the naming. However, the effort may be for naught, as the black hole has since been named.

This week was one for the history books: The first-ever image of a black hole was released, a seemingly impossible feat that was achieved thanks to a massive undertaking of scientists across the globe who have been working on the project for years.

Astronomers worked with University of Hawaii at Hilo (UH) Hawaiian language professor and cultural practitioner Larry Kimura for the name, according to a statement from UH. The reason for a Hawaiian name is that 2 out of the 8 telescopes are in Hawaii.

Powehi means "the adorned fathomless dark creation" or "embellished dark source of unending creation" and comes from the Kumulipo, an 18th century Hawaiian creation chant.

"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.

Dempsey was among 200 scientists who worked to capture an image of the massive black hole in the M87 galaxy almost 54 million light-years from Earth. It's everything that a name for the fist black hole seen by us mere humans should be.

"This major scientific achievement marks a paradigm shift in our understanding of black holes, confirms the predictions of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and opens up new lines of enquiry into our universe", the European Commission tweeted after the picture's release.

"This is an wonderful accomplishment by the EHT (Event Horizons Telescope) team", Paul Hertz, director of NASA's astrophysics division, said in a news release. Researchers are now pointing their eyes towards the supermassive black hole at the heart of our own Milky Way galaxy.