UH professor Hilo names a black hole that captures the attention of the world – University of Hawaii system news

Larry Kimura

Larry Kimura

Two of the most powerful telescopes in the world, located at the top of Maunakea in Hawaii Island, played a vital role in the production of the world's first image of a black hole that now carries a Hawaiian name.

HawaiiJames Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT)) and the submillimeter matrix (SMA) are part of the unpublished Project event of the horizon telescope. JCMT is operated by the East Asia Observatory, SMA is operated by the The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The astronomers collaborated with the renowned UH. in thread Ka Haka 'Ula OR Ke'elikōlani Hawaiian language teacher and cultural practitioner. Larry Kimura By the Hawaiian name of the black hole. Pōwehi, which means dark fountain embellished with endless creation, is a name that comes from Kumulipo, the primordial song that describes the creation of the Hawaiian universe. Pō, deep dark source of endless creation, is a concept emphasized and repeated in the Kumulipo, while wehi, or wehiwehi, honored with ornaments, is one of the many descriptions of pō in the song.

"It's incredible that we, like the Hawaiians of today, can connect with an identity of a long time ago, as it is said in the 2,102 lines of the Kumulipo, and present this precious heritage for our lives today, "said Kimura." Having the privilege of giving a Hawaiian name to the first scientific confirmation of a black hole is very significant to me and to my Hawaiian lineage that comes from pō, and I hope that we can continue to name future black holes of Hawaii astronomy according to Kumulipo. "

Larry Kimura (front) with Jessica Dempsey and Geoff Bower

Larry Kimura (front) with Jessica Dempsy and Geoff Bower

In April 2017, an innovative observation campaign brought together eight telescopes in six locations around the world to capture an image of Pōwehi, a super-stable black hole in the center of the Messier 87 galaxy. The announcement was made to the world on April 10. .

"Maunakea makes this discovery possible and the spectacular image of Pōwehi," said Jessica Dempsey, deputy director of JCMT. "Its perfect remote location, and the dry conditions at the top of Maunakea, allow JCMT Y SMA to collect the small amount of light that only touches our planet in a few very special places. Like the mountain itself, every drop of light we collect is precious. "

the SMA Y JCMT The telescopes are key members of the Event Horizon Telescope project, which links radio telescopes strategically placed around the world to form a larger telescope the size of Earth, powerful enough to see a Lehua flower petal on the moon.

Image of a black hole.

First image of the black hole Pōwehi. Photo courtesy of Event Horizon Telescope

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