Evidence found for mid-sized black hole near center of Milky Way

Black hole in milky way

Black holes are the stuff of dreams for science fiction writers everywhere and a source of fascination for scientists and ordinary people alike.

"It's a very careful paper and they have gorgeous data", Kevin Schawinski, an astronomer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, told Science Magazine. The origins of such "supermassive" black holes (SMBHs) remain unknown, although those of stellar-mass black holes are well understood.

The new "black hole" discovered is the second largest in the Milky Way, and as Japanese astronomers have seen this mighty phenomenon, "a possible scenario is that intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are formed by the clustering of stars in small compact stars, merge into the center of a galaxy to form an oversized black hole". We think some of those black holes are the seeds from which the much larger supermassive black holes grow to at least a million times more massive. "Knowing that nature has a way to make black holes with a mass of a hundred thousand solar masses really fills in a gap and may hold important clues to the formation of all massive black holes".

The black hole was observed indirectly, following the detection of what the researchers call a "peculiar molecular cloud, [named] CO-0.40-0.22". The gases in the cloud move at unusual speeds, and the scientists believed they were being pulled by enormous gravitational forces.

Scientists have shared their excitement over the findings, as confirming the existence of an IMBH would open a new field of research to fully comprehend supermassive black holes, which can be billions of times the mass of our sun.

Astronomers in Japan say they have the best evidence yet that intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) exist - and what's more, there could be one in the Milky Way.

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If it is indeed a black hole, it would be the second largest in the Milky Way, following Sagittarius A.

Oka has yet to say if that'll result in the destruction of the world as we know it and we'll be sucked up into and destroyed by a vortex of incredible nothingness. It's a molecular cloud, which absorbs most wavelengths of light, making it hard to see what's inside. This demonstrated that there had to be something extraordinarily heavy in a very small region of space, strengthening the case that the object was an vast black hole. Black holes, by absorbing other nearby stars and integrating them with other black holes, turn into supermassive black holes, which might range more than of millions of solar masses.

The observations were made by astronomers in Japan, who used the 45-metre Nobeyama radio telescope in Chile to investigate unusual activity within a cloud of gas in the interior of the Milky Way. These characteristics could be explained by a "gravitational kick" that is caused by "invisible compact object with a mass of about 105 solar masses".

Astronomers have just found evidence that shows a long-rumored black hole might be present in the Milky Way. According to theoretical studies, over 100 million black holes exist in the Milky Way. Instead, the scientists suggest it is the former core of a dwarf galaxy that has been subsumed into the Milky Way, stripped of its stars, and is destined to one day fall into Sgr A*.

They will also "increase targets to search for evidential proof of general relativity", the scientists note.