Supermassive Black Hole Discovered In The Milky Way

Posted September 07, 2017

If the information gets confirmed then after the super large Sagittarius A* which is located at the nearly close to the core of the galaxy, will get ranked as the second biggest Black Hole in the Milky Way.

The size of the hole classifies it as an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH), considerably larger than a stellar black hole, which is formed by a collapsing star and has a mass only up to a few times that of the sun.

Time said the astonomers stumbled on the discovery while exploring a "peculiar" molecular cloud near the center of the galaxy.

It was found hiding in a cloud of molecular gas by Japanese astronomers using the Alma (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) 16,400 feet above sea level in the Andes in northern Chile.

What they saw was molecules in that elliptical cloud - which is 150 trillion kilometres wide -being pulled around by huge gravitational forces.

Computer models suggest that this is most likely caused by an invisible compact object: an inactive IMBH that does not now accrete matter. The object may belong to a long-hypothesized but not yet officially identified type of black holes known as intermediate-mass black holes, or IMBHs. Once a black hole formed, it continues to expand by fascinating accumulation from its surroundings. That's a little like a city that's home to only children and the elderly, with no one in between.

The study, titled "Millimetre-wave Emission from an Intermediate-mass Black Hole Candidate in the Milky Way", recently appeared in the journal Nature Astronomy. The origins of supermassive black hole, however, remain a mystery.

"The most exciting thing is the likelihood that intermediate mass black holes are real", Schawinski says.

Artist impression of a black hole.

Black holes are hard to see because they don't emit their own 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.

"Based on the careful analysis of gas kinematics, we concluded a compact object with a mass of about 100,000 solar masses is lurking in this cloud", Prof Oka added. Astronomers have long found evidence for small, star-sized black holes-up to about 10 times the sun's mass-and supermassive ones, containing millions or billions of solar masses, in galactic cores. The cloud had what the team called "extremely broad velocity width", meaning it was moving very fast with varying velocities they could not explain. This demonstrated that there had to be something extraordinarily heavy in a very small region of space, strengthening the case that the object was an vast black hole.

Supermassive black holes have masses ranging from millions to billions of solar masses.

But astronomers also know that much larger, supermassive black holes lie at the heart of large galaxies including the Milky Way, where Sagittarius A* weighs as much as 400m suns.

The concept of Black holes was firstly predicted by Albert Einstein.

But Oko and his team posit that CO-0.40-0.22 used to be the nucleus of a dwarf galaxy that was slowly drawn into the Milky Way.

"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".