There May Be A New Supermassive Black Hole In The Milky Way

05 September, 2017, 22:14 | Author: Devin Moran
  • A church silhouetted below a belt of the Milky Way
Credit
EPA  PETER KOMKA

Radio waves similar but fainter than those believed to be produced by the supermassive black hole seated in the center of the Milky Way were also detected coming from the spot where the massive object is thought to be, further supporting the theory.

The team reports that past year, they discovered a gas cloud near the center of the Milky Way that appeared to behave in odd ways-some of the gasses were moving faster than others.

All of which points to the fate that awaits the newly-found black hole. This particular black hole would be on the range of 100,000 solar masses.

Although it is well established they reside in seemingly all galaxies we do not know how they get so enormous.

A black hole is that space which has high level of gravitational force such that it absorbs all light that passes through it in the midst.

But if there really is a large (but not supermassive) black hole hiding in our galaxy, it must have come from somewhere.

In research conducted by Japanese astronomers using the ALMA Observatory in northern Chile, a black hole 100,000 times the size of our sun was found within a molecular gas cloud.

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.


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

Artist impression of a black hole. A large, toxic gas cloud was found swirling in the middle of the galaxy.

If this new black hole is indeed fated to be pulled towards Sagittarius A*, then it will likely be followed by other smaller black holes, in turn becoming mid-sized black holes, in turned consumed by the vast, growing void at the heart of our galaxy. These characteristics could be explained by a "gravitational kick" that is caused by "invisible compact object with a mass of about 105 solar masses".

Oka says his team will continue to observe CO-0.40-0.22* at other wavelengths and keep an eye on it long-term to see whether it shows variations in brightness known as quasi-periodic oscillations, which are highly characteristic of accretion disks around black holes; that would give the scientists a better handle on the black hole's mass.

"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", said the authors. "It's the most promising evidence so far" for an intermediate mass black hole, says astronomer Kevin Schawinski of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

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

They conclude their paper by saying that such a discovery would make a considerable contribution to the progress of modern physics.

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