Skip to main content

Science Black hole given Hawaiian name that means ‘the adorned fathomless dark creation’

The first-ever photo of a black hole is shown in this handout released April 10, 2019.

HANDOUT/Reuters

A language professor has given a Hawaiian name — Powehi — to the black hole depicted in an image produced in a landmark experiment.

University of Hawaii-Hilo Hawaiian Professor Larry Kimura named the cosmic object, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.

The world’s first image of a black hole revealed Wednesday was created using data from eight radio telescopes around the world.

Story continues below advertisement

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. Po is a profound dark source of unending creation, while wehi, honoured with embellishments, is one of the chant’s descriptions of po, the newspaper reported.

“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.

A Hawaiian name was justified because the project included two Hawaii telescopes, astronomers said.

“As soon as he said it, I nearly fell off my chair,” said Jessica Dempsey, deputy director of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea.

Dempsey was among 200 scientists who worked to capture an image of the massive black hole in the M87 galaxy nearly 54 million light-years from Earth.

Dempsey said Powehi is an excellent match for the scientific explanation provided to Kimura.

“We described what we had seen and that this black hole was illuminating and brightening the darkness around it, and that’s when he came up with the name,” she said.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter