Scientists found that thousands of black holes may be lurking at the center of our galaxy, aka the Milky Way. A new study estimates that more than 10,000 black holes are orbiting the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole.
Decades worth of research suggests that black holes are drawn to the center of galaxies. It is the first time researchers find that the exotic objects accumulated at the core of our galaxy too.
This is just kind of astonishing that you could have a prediction for such a large number of objects and not find any evidence for them,
Columbia University ‘s researcher Chuck Hailey said.
Hailey and his fellow researchers made the discovery with help from NASA’s super powerful telescope the Chandra X-ray Observatory. They knew that lonely black holes were nearly impossible to spot.
Tens of Thousands of Black Holes May Be Invisible
A black hole usually becomes visible when it has an orbiting star. The interactions between the star and the black hole provide hints in the form of X-ray emissions, meaning that a black hole is nearby.
The research team looked for those telltale signs across an area close to Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole. Hailey explained that the center of our galaxy is packed with stars, dust, and gas.
Their study, which appeared in the journal Nature, suggests that dozens of black holes are lurking close to stars. Study authors underlined that it is unusual to find so many across such a small area. So far, scientists have been able to spot just 60 black holes in the entire Milky Way, which is 100,000 light-years across.
Study authors believe that the core of our galaxy hosts even more black holes. They estimate that there are hundreds more of black holes paired with stars and 10,000 more that have no stellar companion across the Milky Way.
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