Another Monster Black Hole Found in the Milky Way

This NASA image shows the black hole Sagittarius A in the heart of the Milky Way

Black holes are formed by the death of massive stars. But researchers are divided over whether these are really midsized black holes, shining bright as they imbibe lots of surrounding gas, or smaller ones ingesting at a superfast rate. It's located not far from supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A* that lies at the dead center of our galaxy. What is unknown is how these supermassive black holes form.

Astrophysicists have suspected an intermediate class of black hole might exist - with masses between a hundred and several hundred thousand times that of the Sun.

We know there's a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, and now we have evidence for another one.

These findings offer strong evidence of a mid-sized black hole, though it is not clear how it might have come to that location.

In 2016, Oka and colleagues from Keio University reported discovering a peculiar cloud of molecular gas, dubbed CO-0.40-0.22, near the center of the Milky Way. They noticed that the molecules in the elliptical cloud, built up of toxic gases including hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide, were being twisted and pulled by colossal gravitational forces. Some models suggest that intermediate-mass black holes can form in dense star clusters.

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

Recent research has shown supermassive black holes are essential to the creation of galaxies, stars - and even life itself.

In a study published in Nature Astronomy, scientists led by Tomoharu Oka from Keio University, Japan, announced a new candidate for an IMBH. If this cloud-dwelling black hole discovered by the Japanese astronomers is confirmed at 100,000 solar masses, it will be the first "missing link" black hole the world has ever seen. However, until now no definitive evidence has existed for intermediate-mass black holes that could indicate a middle step between the small and massive black holes already detected. They also don't have the extreme conditions required to become a supermassive black hole. According to Science Mag, the mid-sized black hole could be lurking in the heart of the Milky Way Galaxy. Schawinski says that the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy visible in the southern sky, "if it has a black hole, could end up in a similar place". Hence, spotting them in the vast universe beyond planet Earth is a very hard task. The properties exhibited by the molecular cloud are being associated to gravitational kicks that are caused by invisible compact objects that usually weigh about 105, 000 solar masses. If it were, in fact, a black hole, it would provide the first confirmation of the existence of intermediate-mass black holes.

There is very good evidence that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) dominate the centres of many galaxies.

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.

"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", Oka said.

'This would make a considerable contribution to the progress of modern physics'.

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