Scientists claim discovery of massive black hole in Milky Way

Long-rumored midsized black hole may be hiding out in the Milky Way

Supermassive black hole discovered near heart of the Milky Way

"This is the second-largest black hole candidate in the Milky Way galaxy", lead researcher Tomoharu Oka noted in a Nature Astronomy report that was published on Monday.

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.

Looming in the middle of every galaxy, enormous black holes weigh as much as ten billion suns - fuelling the birth of stars and deforming the fabric of space-time itself. In the rarest cases it could be identified for the effect they cause.

The discovery was made after they found a "peculiar" molecular cloud located near the center of the Milky Way, which according to the scientists displayed some highly unusual properties not seen in similar cosmic structures.

Just how such supermassive black holes come to be is something scientists don't fully understand, because we can't yet theoretically explain how some of these ancient, gargantuan phenomena seem to have already formed when the Universe was young.

Lying about 25,000 light years from Earth it could now help answer one of the main questions - how did the Milky Way evolve?

That's how the black holes get massive so quickly.

They also found the emission from this cloud closely resembles a scaled-down version of the Milky Way's quiescent supermassive black hole.

Astronomers detect the presence of a potential #black hole in our Galaxy. IMBHs are a newer theory; and while many have been proposed, none have been accepted yet. "It's the most promising evidence so far" for an intermediate mass black hole, says astronomer Kevin Schawinski of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who was not involved in the study. Additionally, the lack of any counterparts at other wavelengths at all suggests that it's an inactive IMBH that isn't now consuming any more matter or growing.

"Theoretical studies have predicted that 100 million to one billion black holes should exist in the Milky Way, although only 60 or so have been identified through observations so far", the authors continue. For example, black holes which consume gas are spotted as the gas shine brightly while approaching the hole. IMHBs have never been officially identified, though.

Prof Oka said: '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.

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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