Supermassive black hole discovered near heart of the Milky Way

If this new black hole is indeed fated to be pulled towards Sagittarius A*, then it will likely be followed by other smaller black holes, in turn becoming mid-sized black holes, in turned consumed by the vast, growing void at the heart of our galaxy.

These were believed to exist but none had ever actually been identified - until now.

Lying for about 25000 light years away from earth, how did the Milky way evolve??

The black hole was observed indirectly using the Alma telescope in Chile.

Individual molecules within the cloud have specific signatures, places on the electromagnetic spectrum where they absorb or emit photons.

It sheds fresh light on the most mysterious objects in the universe.

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The supermassive black holes on the high end of the mass spectrum, such as Sagittarius A*, usually reside at the center of very big galaxies. Since the SMBHs are at the center of galaxies, they have ample stars, gas, and dust to feed on, so they can grow quickly. 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 enormous black hole.

The smallest black holes, stellar black holes, form when certain types of stars explode at the end of their life cycles, but scientists are unsure how supermassive black holes form.

Black holes are hard to find because they do not emit any light.

Artistic representation of a black hole.

What are Intermediate Mass Black Holes? The cloud, named CO-0.40-0.22, was intriguing because not only did it represent the possibility of finding an intermediate black hole, but it could also explain how massive black holes come to exist at the centers of galaxies, such as our own Milky way. Since astronomers have a collection of the evidences for detection of the star-sized, small black holes, which are said to be upto 10 times of the solar mass.

But such black holes had not previously been reliably detected and their existence has been fiercely debated among the astronomical community.

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Writing in the journal Nature Astronomy, a team of researchers led by Tomoharu Oka of Japan's Keio University explained that they were analyzing a cloud of molecular gas located close to the center of the galaxy when they noticed that the gases were exhibiting unusual behavior. Although many candidates for IMBHs have been proposed, none is accepted as definitive. But researchers are divided over whether these are really midsized black holes, shining bright as they imbibe lots of surrounding gas, or smaller ones ingesting at a superfast rate.

Prof Oka said it suggests 'this massive object is an inactive IMBH which is not now accreting matter'. According to Science Mag, the mid-sized black hole could be lurking in the heart of the Milky Way Galaxy.

And it was just 46 years ago when the 1st black hole was identified as predicted.

Oka says his team will continue to observe CO-0.40-0.22* at other wavelengths and keep an eye on it long-term to see whether it shows variations in brightness known as quasi-periodic oscillations, which are highly characteristic of accretion disks around black holes; that would give the scientists a better handle on the black hole's mass.

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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