The first-ever black hole to be photographed has been named "Powehi". The name Powehi, meaning embellished dark source of unending creation, was deliberated upon by astronomers and renowned Hawaiian language professor, Larry Kimura.
"Powehi", the name bestowed upon the first black hole pictured ever, is sourced from the Hawaiian word "Kumulipo", a primordial chant describing the creation of the universe. Po, profound dark source of unending creation, is a concept emphasised and repeated in the Kumulipo, while wehi, or wehiwehi, is one of many descriptions of po in the chant.
Two of the world's most powerful telescopes located on a Hawaii Island played a vital role in producing the world's very first image of a black hole that now bears the Hawaiian name.
"It is awesome that we, as Hawaiians today, are able to connect to an identity from long ago, as chanted in the 2,102 lines of the Kumulipo, and bring forward this precious inheritance for our lives today," said Prof Kimura.
Powehi, the black hole photographed for the first time ever, lies at the center of Messier 87, the largest galaxy we know of, about 54 million light-years away.
The image comes from the Event Horizon Telescope, a network of 10 radio telescopes spread across the planet and functioning as if it were a single receiver, one tuned to high-frequency radio waves.
The image shows the boundary between light and dark around a black hole, called the event horizon - the point of no return, where the gravity of the black hole becomes so extreme that nothing that enters can ever escape. At the center of the black hole, time and space become so curved upon themselves that the laws of physics break down completely.
"This major scientific achievement marks a paradigm shift in our understanding of black holes, confirms the predictions of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and opens up new lines of enquiry into our universe," the European Commission had tweeted after the picture's release.
(With inputs from ANI, AFP and The Washington Post)