Space researchers captured the imagination of everyone on Earth by releasing the first ever photo of a black hole earlier this week. Now, it has been given a name: Powehi.
It was decided that the mysterious space object would have a Hawaiian name because two of the eight telescopes used to make the historic picture were located on the archipelago.
The astronomers asked University of Hawaii-Hilo language professor, Larry Kimura, to select the perfect word. And he didn’t disappoint, coming up with ‘Powehi,’ which means “embellished dark source of unending creation.”
The name comes from an 18th century Hawaiian folk chant that describes the creation of the universe, known as the ‘Kumulipo.’
“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,” the professor said.
The name perfectly fits the massive black hole, which is located in the Messier 87 galaxy, some 54 million light years from Earth, the astronomers said.
“As soon as he said it, I nearly fell off my chair,” Jessica Dempsey, deputy director of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “I had just spent 10 minutes explaining what this object was in science language. And in just this one word, he describes that.”