Recently Discovered Black Hole Gets a Name

April 16, 2019

The world is abuzz with the first ever image of the black hole at the centre of Messier 87, a huge galaxy located in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. It now also has a name.

The scientists who discovered the celestial event gave it an almost poetic name: Pōwehi, which is Hawaiian for “embellished dark source of unending creation”.

What the image captured was the black hole’s event horizon. Black holes generate gravity fields so strong that nothing can escape their pull, not even light. The bright circle consists of dust, gas and stars – including their light – that circles the edge of the black hole before being sucked inside.

Two of the eight telescopes that identified Pōwehi are located on top of Maunakea, on Hawaii Island. Astronomers on the team collaborated with language professor, Larry Kimura, to name the black hole, and agree that it is fitting.