Supermassive Black Hole Discovered In The Milky Way

Image credit Dana Berry Skyworks Digital  NASA  Nat Geo

So-called intermediate-mass black holes fill a gap in astronomer's knowledge of the most massive objects in the universe. And it's a standard looking molecular cloud-a body of gas cool enough for its atoms to get together and form molecules-unless you happen to look more closely, as a team of Japanese researchers did back in 2015.

Using the ALMA telescope, the team observed the cloud more than 195 light years from the centre of the Milky Way. They noticed that the molecules in the elliptical cloud, built up of toxic gases including hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide, were being twisted and pulled by colossal gravitational forces.

According to computer models, the most likely cause was a black hole, not more than 1.4 trillion kilometres across. While scientists have data supporting the existence of supermassive and small black holes, Science reports they lacked evidence of the mid-sized variety. Supernovae create black holes up to several times the mass of the Sun, and there's a prospect of slightly larger black holes being formed by a non-explosive mechanism.

Now, researchers are making a similar case for what may be the second-biggest black hole in the Milky Way. That's a little like a city that's home to only children and the elderly, with no one in between.

A big black hole lurking near the centre of the Milky Way could constitute an important clue to how even bigger ones form.

Black holes appear in the Universe too early for there to have been enough time for any small black holes to have fed on enough material to become supermassive.

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The core of our galaxy houses a supermassive black hole that weighs in at over a million times our Sun's mass. And since many galaxies collide repeatedly during their long lifetimes, the supermassive black holes collide and coalesce into even heavier supermassive black holes.

It's believed they could be the seeds of their more massive counterparts - merging together to form a enormous one. intermediate black holes might simply turn out to be their progenitors.

These findings offer strong evidence of a mid-sized black hole, though it is not clear how it might have come to that location. Eventually, Oka explained to The Guardian, the object will sink toward Sagittarius A*, closer and closer, until it's swallowed up, increasing the mass of Sagittarius A* as it joins it at the heart of our galaxy.

Theories predict, the scientists note in their paper, that the Milky Way alone should contain between 100 million and one billion black holes, but to date only 60 have been found. Also, Tomoharu Oka form the Keio University in Japan, leads a team of scientists, which says that it has some solid evidences of the existing mid-sized black hole which has been hanging out in our galaxy since long.

Scientists believe they have discovered a huge black hole near the center of the Milky Way hiding within a massive cloud of molecular gas. A typical stellar-class of black hole can be between approximately three and 10 solar masses. Finding out where it originated is much more hard, but the team believes it could have been the core of a dwarf galaxy that the Milky Way swallowed at some point in its history.

Researchers say they will continue to study the intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the hope of confirming its existence.

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