Milky Way Black Hole Taking Huge Bite Out of Our Galaxy

Milky Way Black Hole Taking Huge Bite Out of Our Galaxy

Milky Way Black Hole Taking Huge Bite Out of Our Galaxy

An absolutely very big black hole 100,000 times more massive than the sun has been discovered in a toxic gas cloud near the heart of the Milky Way.

Kevin Schawinski, an astronomer from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, stated that, "It's a very careful paper and they have gorgeous data".

"This is the first detection of an intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the Milky Way galaxy", said Tomoharu Oka, one of the astronomers at Keio University in Tokyo.

Black holes are hard to spot because they don't emit any light of their own. But they can be detected by their influence on nearby objects, for example if the black hole is in a binary pair with a star, or if it is consuming gas which gets heated as it approaches and shines brightly.

If confirmed, the phenomena will measure in as an intermediate-mass black hole; a potentially enlightening link between the small black holes, which are born when stars end their lives, and supermassive black holes, existing at the hearts of galaxies.

It's widely accepted that most galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their core.

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It was found hiding in a cloud of molecular gas by Japanese astronomers using the Alma (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) 16,400 feet above sea level in the Andes in northern Chile. Recently we discovered a peculiar molecular cloud near the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.

The existence of a new Milky Way black hole was first hinted at past year by the researchers in a separate study. In findings published in the journal Nature Astronomy, Prof Oka then used computer simulations to show the high speed motion of the gas cloud, which the team concluded was a sign that it is surrounding a black hole. The spectrum of the source seemed to be very similar to Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), and they estimated the radio source was apparently the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way, but around 500 times less luminous.

One of the prominent theories about how supermassive black holes form is through IMBHs merging at the center of galaxies, acting as seeds to create their larger counterparts.

Artistic representation of a black hole. 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.

And, in doing this, the team observed an X-ray flare from our own galaxy's black hole, Sagittarius A. That growth should happen in part by mergers with other black holes and in part by accretion of material from the part of the galaxy that surrounds the black hole.

One hypothesis, which scientists have always been looking to confirm, is the presence of what's called intermediate-mass black holes, which researchers think might act as seeds for their more massive counterparts. "[But] the origins of such supermassive black holes remain unknown".

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