Hawaii scientists suggest Powehi as name for first-ever photographed Black Hole

Earlier this week, an international team of scientists published the first-ever photo of a black hole, procured via the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project.

A University of Hawaii-Hilo professor has offered a Hawaiian name for the black hole that was photographed by the astronomers, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday. According to the outlet, professor Larry Kimura named the cosmic object Powehi, which means “the adorned fathomless dark creation” or “embellished dark source of unending creation”, which refers to “Po” the traditional Hawaii name for initial Chaos.

“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 po”, Kimura said in a news release.

Commenting on the unusual suggestion, deputy director of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Mauna Kea Jessica Dempsey explained that the name was appropriate because the project included two telescopes in Hawaii.

“Its perfect remote position and the dry conditions on Mauna Kea’s summit allow JCMT and SMA [The Submillimeter Array project] to collect the tiny amount of light that only touches our planet in a few very special places. Like the mountain itself, every drop of light we gather is precious”, she noted.

The research that allowed them to capture the image of the celestial body was conducted by the Event Horizon Telescope project, an international collaboration set up in 2012 which has been using a global network of Earth-based telescopes. 

​The object of the astronomers’ attention is located in 50 million light-years away in a galaxy known as M87.

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