Black hole named ‘Powehi'
BLACK HOLE NAMED ‘POWEHI'
Recently, the world saw its first ever black hole image. Now, the black hole also has a name. A language professor has given a Hawaiian name 'Powehi' to the black hole depicted in an image produced in a landmark experiment.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday that University of Hawaii-Hilo Hawaiian Professor Larry Kimura named the cosmic object. The world’s first image of a black hole revealed on Wednesday was created using data from eight radio telescopes around the world.
The newspaper reports the word meaning “the adorned fathomless dark creation” or “embellished dark source of unending creation” comes from the Kumulipo, an 18th Century Hawaiian creation chant.
Astronomers say giving it a Hawaiian name was justified because the project included two telescopes in Hawaii. Jessica Dempsey, a co-discoverer of the black hole, says the word is an excellent match for the scientific description she provided to Kimura.
ASTRONOMERS REVEAL FIRST IMAGE OF BLACK HOLE
In a breakthrough that thrilled the world of astrophysics and stirred talk of a Nobel Prize, scientists released the first image ever made of a black hole, revealing a fiery doughnut-shaped object in a galaxy 53 million light-years from Earth.
The image, assembled from data gathered by eight radio telescopes around the world, shows light and gas swirling around the lip of a supermassive black hole, a monster of the universe whose existence was theorized by Einstein more than a century ago but confirmed only indirectly over the decades.
The project cost $50 million to $60 million, with $28 million of that coming from the National Science Foundation. The same team has gathered even more data on a black hole in the center of our own Milky Way galaxy, but scientists said the object is so jumpy they don't have a good picture yet.
"We've been hunting this for a long time," Dempsey said. "We've been getting closer and closer with better technology."
EINSTEIN IS RIGHT AGAIN
The new image confirmed yet another piece of Einstein's general theory of relativity. Einstein even predicted the object's neatly symmetrical shape.
Three years ago, scientists using an extraordinarily sensitive observing system heard the sound of two much smaller black holes merging to create a gravitational wave, as Einstein predicted. The new image, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and announced around the world, adds light to that sound.
Each major astrophysics discovery of the last few decades tends to confirm Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. It's a comprehensive explanation of gravity that the former patent clerk thought of in 1915 before computers and with much weaker telescopes. On Wednesday, Einstein's predictions about the shape and glow of a big black hole proved right, and astronomer after astronomer paid homage to the master.
Myth says a black hole would rip a person apart, but scientists said that because of the particular forces exerted by an object as big as the one in M87, someone could fall into it and not be torn to pieces. But the person would never be heard from or seen again.
Black holes are "like the walls of a prison. Once you cross it, you will never be able to get out and you will never be able to communicate," said astronomer Avi Loeb, who is director of the Black Hole Initiative at Harvard but was not involved in the discovery.
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