Black Hole Gets Name from Hawai`ian Creation Chant

HILO, OAHU (Ben Caxton) — A Hawaii language professor has given a name to the black hole that was the first ever to have its photo taken by scientists this week. In a press release issued Thursday University of Hawaii-Hilo Hawaiian Professor Larry Kimura chose the name “Powehi” based on a Hawaiian creation chant. 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, honored with embellishments, is one of the chant’s descriptions of po the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. Scientists who worked on the project said the name was a good match for the image they captured of the enormous black hole located 54 million light-years away in the center of the galaxy M87. Kimura’s name has a chance to be adopted. Two of the telescopes used in the imaging project are based on the Big Island.

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