Want to share with your friends too?

Science
17 Apr 2019

M87 black hole gets epic name, but many aren't happy

M87 black hole's name stirs debate

A week ago, astronomers working on ESO's Event Horizon Telescope revealed the first-ever directly-captured image of a black hole.

The shot, produced from a global array of observatories, made major headlines, prompting the astronomers involved in the project to give the void an epic name - Pōwehi.

But, as it turns out, many don't approve and want the moniker to be changed.

Here's why.

In context

M87 black hole's name stirs debate
What is the meaning of Pōwehi

Meaning

What is the meaning of Pōwehi

Pōwehi means 'embellished dark source of unending creation'.

It comes from Kumulipo, the primordial chant describing the creation of the Hawaiian universe, and was given by Larry Kimura, a famous language professor and cultural practitioner.

To note, the moniker connects to Hawaiian roots as two of the powerful telescopes resulting in this historic photograph are located atop Maunakea on the island of Hawaii.

Here's what Kimura said of the Hawaiian name

"To have the privilege of giving a Hawaiian name to the very first scientific confirmation of a black hole is very meaningful to me and my Hawaiian lineage that comes from pō, and I hope we are able to continue naming future black holes."

Love Tech news?

Stay updated with the latest happenings.

Notify Me

Issue

However, many are not happy from the naming choice

While the name sounds epic, thousands of people are petitioning to get it changed in the honor of Chris Cornell, the lead singer for Soundgarden and Audioslave.

Cornell passed away two years ago and is accredited for writing 'Black Hole Sun', one of the biggest anthems of the 90s.

This is why many want the photographed black hole to be named after him.

Petition has already got nearly 45,000 signatures

Support

Petition has already got nearly 45,000 signatures

The Change.org petition to name the black hole - located at the center of M87 galaxy - after Cornell has already got nearly 45,000 signatures and is zooming towards the target of 50,000.

"This would be a "surreal" and amazing way to honor his life and his contribution to music," Giulianna Jarrin, the requester of name change wrote on the petition page.

Possibility

How M87's central black hole looks like

As the Hawaiian connection makes more sense in this case, it is pretty unlikely that astronomers will consider the request.

That said, Pōwehi (embellished dark source of unending creation) isn't a bad name either, especially for something that sits 53 million light years away from us and can be seen as nothing but a dark round void circled by a ring of fire.

Ask NewsBytes
User Image

Most asked questions

Which is the closest black hole to Earth?

Will this project capture other black holes too?

How many scientists worked on the creation of this projects?

How many telescopes were used?

More questions

Which is the closest black hole to Earth?

Asked 2019-04-17 00:23:48 by Shreyas Jindal

Answered by NewsBytes

Closest black hole to earth is V616 Monocerotis. It is located 3,000 light years away.

Will this project capture other black holes too?

Asked 2019-04-17 00:23:48 by Sai Chattopadhyay

Answered by NewsBytes

Hopefully, the same project will capture other, clearer black hole photos.

How many scientists worked on the creation of this projects?

Asked 2019-04-17 00:23:48 by Rajesh Chattopadhyay

Answered by NewsBytes

Hundreds of scientists worked on the photographing and production of this image.

How many telescopes were used?

Asked 2019-04-17 00:23:48 by Rajesh Singhal

Answered by NewsBytes

The researchers used an array of as many as eight telescopes to produce the image.

Next Timeline