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

07 September, 2017, 01:32 | Author: Sam Montgomery
  • Image credit Dana Berry Skyworks Digital  NASA  Nat Geo

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

Scientists believe that with sufficient studies and evidence, IMBHs will become the missing link that will shed light to how cosmic objects evolve and explain the creation of supermassive black holes. A large, toxic gas cloud was found swirling in the middle of the galaxy. So, using computer-based simulations, they determined that the most likely cause would be a "gravitational kick" caused by an object similar to a black hole. Unlike those that make up other interstellar clouds, the gases in this cloud - including hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide - move at wildly different speeds. With an estimated mass of around 100,000 times that of our sun, they believe it could be a special type of black hole that has always been hypothesized but never officially identified.

"We know that smaller black holes form when some stars die, which makes them fairly common", she said.

In the past, astronomers have conjectured that SMBHs are formed by the merger of smaller black holes, which implied the existence of intermediate ones. That's a little like a city that's home to only children and the elderly, with no one in between.

A odd form of black hole has been detected for the first time at the heart of the Milky Way. "Theoretical studies have predicted that 100 million to one billion black holes should exist in the Milky Way, although only 60 or so have been identified through observations so far", the scientists wrote.

The existence of a new Milky Way black hole was first hinted at past year by the researchers in a separate study. What is obscure is the manner by which these supermassive black holes frame.

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It's believed they could be the seeds of their more massive counterparts - merging together to form a very big one. intermediate black holes might simply turn out to be their progenitors. Yet even though it dwarfs the Earth, it's not actually the biggest black hole found in our galaxy.

Black holes are hard to find because they do not emit any light. 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. 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.

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".

Now, Tomoharu Oka and colleagues at Keio University have studied a "peculiar molecular cloud" located near the centre of the Milky Way and concluded that it harbours a black hole weighing in at about 100,000 solar masses - putting it at the more massive end of the IMBH classification.

This artist's concept shows a galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its core. If it were, in fact, a black hole, it would provide the first confirmation of the existence of intermediate-mass black holes. As a result, the IMBH could have formed outside the Milky Way and was then incorporated into our galaxy along with its parent dwarf galaxy.

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

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