Astronomers at Keio University in Japan discovered a gas cloud just 200 light years from the Milky Way's center.
An invisible black hole with a mass 100,000 times the mass of our sun has been discovered near the center of the Milky Way.
This “intermediate mass black hole” could help scientists better understand how supermassive black holes, which are found in the centers of galaxies, are formed, according to a Phys.org report.
Astronomers at Keio University in Japan discovered a gas cloud just 200 light years from the Milky Way’s center. Clouds filled with gas are moving at a wide range of speeds, which has fascinated scientists as they study it with two radio telescopes, one in Japan and one in Chile.
They used the Nobeyama 45-m Telescope, which is in Japan, to observe the structure of the gas cloud, dubbed CO-0.40-0.22, and they found that the cloud has an elliptical shape.
X-ray and infrared observations couldn’t find any compact objects, which is perhaps why the differences in velocity in the clouds is so big.
“These results open a new way to search for black holes with radio telescopes,” states a recent news release. “Recent observations have revealed that there are a number of wide-velocity-dispersion compact clouds similar to CO-0.40-0.22. The team proposes that some of those clouds might contain black holes. A study suggested that there are 100 million black holes in the Milky Way Galaxy, but X-ray observations have only found dozens so far. Most of the black holes may be “dark” and very difficult to see directly at any wavelength.”
There are an estimated 100 million black holes in the Milky Way, although X-ray observations have only turned up dozens.
Intermediate black holes are between stellar-mass black holes, formed after massive stars explode, and the gigantic supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. The question is how black holes go from stellar-mass to supermassive, and intermediate mass black holes may hold the answer, which is why this discovery may help scientists understand how the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy was created.