Scientists May Have Found Another Black Hole in the Milky Way

Todd Singleton
September 5, 2017

The new discovery, found hiding in a huge cloud of molecular gas, is the best evidence yet of a long-sought class of 'intermediate-mass' black holes, the existence of which could explain how supermassive black holes grow so terrifyingly vast.

Now, the same team, led by astrophysicist Tomoharu Oka, have backed up their initial findings, using new measurements taken by the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array in Chile. While scientists have data supporting the existence of supermassive and small black holes, Science reports they lacked evidence of the mid-sized variety.

A giant black hole some 100,000 times the mass of the Sun has been detected near the heart of the Milky Way, making it our galaxy's second largest known black hole - coming after the supermassive void at its very centre, Sagittarius A*.

Black holes are hard to see because they don't emit their own light. Its odd movement signaled towards a huge "compact object" at the centre, which scientists suspect of being a black hole.

There are two other types of black holes, supermassive black holes that can be millions or billions times the size of the sun as well as stellar-mass black holes that are about a few dozen times the size of the sun.

Using numerical simulations of the hidden object, they interpret it as being an IMBH that is not now accreting matter-the accumulation of particles by gravitationally attracting more matter.

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Astronomers have for the first time found evidence of an enormous black hole near the heart of the Milky Way galaxy.

But how did it form and how did it get there? What is unknown is how these supermassive black holes form. 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*.

Prof Oka said: 'Further detection of such compact high-velocity features in various environments may increase the number of non-luminous black hole candidate and thereby increase targets to search for evidential proof of general relativity.

Astronomer of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Kevin Schawinski, told Science "we know very little about how black holes form but if Oka's team or others are able to find a population of such objects, we can put our ideas to the test".

Professor Oka believes the newly found black hole may have managed to stay undetected because it is not bright, having insufficient mass accretion.

He said: 'One possible scenario is intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) - which are formed by the runaway coalescence of stars in young compact star clusters - merge at the centre of a galaxy to form a supermassive black hole.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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