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科學家正式命名黑洞,意指無盡黑暗之心

台灣技術團隊與國外研究小組合作拍到的黑洞照片一公開,便向世人證明了黑洞是真實存在,並非理論謬誤。儘管照片本身不高清,卻也引起一連串的討論熱潮。

黑洞照片掀起梗圖比賽

The very first image of a black hole was recently unveiled marking, a giant feat for science. A blurry shot that shows a black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy quickly went viral. The black hole photo has some noticeable features - a golden orange ring which made people draw comparisons between the fiery orange circle and many other famous round objects. Many immediately posted their initial reactions about the black hole on the social media after the release of the image, from an orange doughnut, the smile of Winnie the Pooh, and to the legendary evil Eye of Sauron in the Lord of the Ring. Needless to say, these people definitely won’t forget the inevitable cat memes and Trump association.

隨著第一張黑洞照片的公開,立下科學史上的里程碑,模糊的影像除了顯示出這個位在處女座M87星系中央的黑洞,照片本身也快速在網路瘋傳。而照片中最明顯的特徵 – 橘紅環狀的光圈,讓許多人不禁比較其它也是以橘紅圓形著名的物體。在照片一公布後,網民立即將各自的黑洞聯想上傳到社群,內容包羅萬象,從橘色甜甜圈、小熊維尼的微笑到《魔戒》中邪惡的索倫之眼。更不用說,這些網民一定不會放過能趁機玩貓迷因和川普梗的機會。

黑洞甜甜圈其實是逃不出引力的光

However, do you know that the internet-viral image is not a photograph? It's actually an image created by 8 ground-based telescopes across the global, called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project. Behind this scientific breakthrough is the 29-year-old scientist, Dr. Kate Bouman, whose team captured the image using a series of algorithms that allowed telescopes to harvest data, send it back to earth, and process it. It means that what we saw in this image is not literally the black hole because black hole itself cosume all light. What we can see is its event horizon.

然而,你知道黑洞影像其實不是單一的照片嗎?它其實是由8座建在地表的天文望遠鏡所拍攝,整個研究計畫稱作「事件視界望遠鏡(EHT)計畫」。在這項科學創舉背後的是年僅29歲的鮑曼博士,她與團隊利用一連串的演算法,讓望遠鏡收集並處理天文資料。這表示我們在照片上看到的光圈並不是黑洞本身,因為黑洞會吸收所有的光線,而我們看見的光圈其實是所謂的「事件視界」。

The event horizon of a black hole has something to do with the speed that an object would need to exceed to escape the blackhole's gravitational pull. To simplify, the closer you are to a black hole, the greater the speed you would need to escape its massive gravity. If you cross the event horizon, you would cross the threshold around the black hole where the escape velocity surpasses the speed of light, meaning that you could not escape from the black hole.

事件視界與物體逃出黑洞引力的速度有關。簡單來說,就是當你越靠近一個黑洞,你逃離黑洞引力所需要的速度就越大。而當你跨過黑洞的事件視界,代表逃出黑洞所需要的速度已經大於光速,意味著你將逃不出黑洞引力。

*一般來說,光速被科學界稱為宇宙物質速度的極限,意思是沒有比光速還快的存在。

最符合黑洞科學形象的名字 - Powehi

That black hole you've seen everywhere now has an official name.
Since two of the eight telescopes used to capture the photograph are located in Hawaii, it's been christened "Powehi", referring to an "embellished dark source of unending creation" in the indigenous Hawaiian language. The name of the black hole was selected by Larry Kimura, a Hawaiian language professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, who was approached by astronomers involved with the project. The name Powehi consists of two terms originated from an 18th-century Hawaiian chant, Kumulipo: Po, meaning profound dark source of unending creation, and wehi which is another term that po is described in the chant. "Powehi, as a name, is so perfect, because it provides real truths about the image of a black hole that we see," Jessica Dempsey of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope said.

現在這個到處瘋傳的黑洞終於擁有正式的名字了。
目前8座天文望遠鏡當中,就有2座正好位在夏威夷,因此黑洞取名為「Powehi」,出自夏威夷語,意思是「無窮創造的深美源頭」。為黑洞取名的是夏威夷語專家,夏威夷大學希洛分校的木村教授。Powehi這個名字由兩個詞彙組成,皆源自18世紀夏威夷頌歌Kumulipo:前半的Po指的是「無窮創造的深邃黑暗源頭」,而Wehi則是頌歌中Po的另外一個說法。麥克斯韋望遠鏡觀測站副主任Jessica Dempsey說道:「Powehi,作為一個名字,是如此完美,它體現了我們看到黑洞形象的真相。」

#參考資料:Time、The Guardian、CNN、Futurism、International Business Time、Bloomberg


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本文收錄於英語島English Island 2019年5月號
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