A language professor gave a Hawaiian name – powehi – to the black hole shown in a picture created in a seminal 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 unveiled on Wednesday was created using data from eight radio telescopes around the world.
Powehi means "the decorated unfathomable dark creation" or "beautified dark source of infinite creation" comes from the Kumulipo, a 18th century Hawaiian creation song. Po is a profound dark source of infinite creation, while wehi, honored with beautification, is one of po's descriptions in song, the newspaper reported.
"Having the privilege of giving a Hawaiian name to the very first scientific endorsement. A black hole is very significant to me and my Hawaiian descent coming from po," Kimura said in a press release.
A Hawaiian name was justified because the project contained two Hawaiian telescopes, astronomers said.
When he said it, I almost fell off my chair, "said Jessica Dempsey, deputy director of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea.
Dempsey was among the 200 scientists working to get a picture of the massive M87 galaxy nearly 54 million light-years from Earth.
According to Dempsey, Powehi is an excellent partner for the scientific explanation Kimura has received.
"We described what we saw and that this black hole illuminates and lightens the Da, and then he came in the name, "she said.
Information from: Honolulu Star Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com