A team of scientists detected what they consider to be a new type of giant black hole. This was discovered right at the center of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, making it its second one and coming right after Sagittarius A*, its supermassive void.
Specialists consider that this latest find might offer the definite proof of the existence of the so-called “intermediate-mass black holes”, and fill in a new piece of their history.
New Giant Black Hole, Hidden By a Cloud of Gas
This new giant black hole is estimated to be some 100,000 times bigger than our Sun. It is being hidden from view by a massive cloud of molecular gas called CO–0.40–0.22. This too was discovered just last year by a team of Japanese scientists, which hinted at the existence of this new black hole even then.
Now, this same team of researchers, led by Tomoharu Oka, an astrophysicist at the Keio University, took their study one step further. They have taken a closer look at the cloud formation with some help from the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimeter Array in Chile.
According to reports, their findings indicate the presence of a giant black hole, which although massive, is still small in comparison to Sagittarius A*. This formation is also believed to be heading towards a slow and quite certain death as it is moving towards the supermassive void which will ultimately subsume it.
Still, if proven correct, this new giant structure might also provide the needed evidence to prove the existence of “intermediate-mass black holes”,
Science has yet to fully understand how supermassive black holes came to exist. However, they believe that a type of ‘intermediate-mass’ ones acted as a sort of “seed” for their gargantuan counterparts.
The research team also believes that CO–0.40–0.22 may be all that’s left of a dwarf galaxy. One that might have been slowly drawn and then swallowed by the Milky Way. If proven right, this could further bring proof of galactic cannibalism.
Namely, of the fact that larger galaxies expand by consuming their smaller counterparts.
The research team will continue studying the massive cloud of gas and the possible giant black hole behind it.
Current research results are available in a paper in the Nature Astronomy.
Image Source: Pixabay