Medium-sized black hole seen lurking in the Milky Way

Midsized black hole may be hiding out in the Milky Way

The two findings together suggested very strongly the presence of a mid-sized black hole. "Some of them seem very large".

Professor Oka of Keio university said that it is widely accepted black holes whose masses are expected to be greater than the solar masses.

Over time, astronomers have discovered evidence for star-sized black holes whose masses are about ten times the mass of our Sun. The black hole appears to be mid-sized and not almost as big as the giant ones present at the centers of galaxies.

That accolade is reserved for Sagittarius A, which is anchored at the very centre of the galaxy and has a mass of 400 million suns. Now, a team led by Tomoharu Oka of Keio University in Japan believes it has found some solid data to back up a theory that a mid-sized black hole is actually hanging out in our own home galaxy.

They discovered that the movement of the gases, which include carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, was caused by huge gravitational forces.

The team also ran a series of computer models to account for these unusual behaviors, which indicated that the most likely cause was a black hole.

Instead, researchers look to possible influences on nearby objects or disruptions in gravitation to detect these occurrences and, based upon observations of the cloud of molecular gas, scientists believe the most likely cause of these particular gravitational disruptions could be the existence of a black hole.

The existence of a new Milky Way black hole was first hinted at previous year by the researchers in a separate study.

Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are called the "missing link" that could explain how supermassive black holes are created, Newsweek reports. If confirmed, this discovery will constitute the second-largest black hole to be discovered within the Milky Way. The amount of light coming out of it at these wavelengths were about 1/500 of that emitted by the supermassive black hole at our galaxy's center.

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One theory proposes that smaller black holes eat each other up, slipping closer and closer to the center of galactic mass as they grow heavier.

The black hole was observed indirectly using the Alma telescope in Chile.

The gases in the elliptical cloud, which is 150 trillion kilometers (93 trillion miles) wide and more than 200 light-years from Earth, move at drastically different velocities.

"We know that smaller black holes form when some stars die, which makes them fairly common". The detection of a potential black hole weighing as much as 100,000 suns is precisely the middle step in the process that astronomers have sought.

"Astrophysicists have been collecting observational evidence for both stellar mass black holes and supermassive black holes for decades, but even though we think the largest ones grow from the smallest ones, we've never really had clear evidence for a black hole with a mass in between those extremes", she added.

Galaxies like the Milky Way are thought to have been formed from the merger of multiple dwarf galaxies, and the remains of some continue to orbit our galaxy.

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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