Japanese astronomers believe they may have discovered a new intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) near the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.
According to Phileleftheros daily, if confirmed, the find, located more than 200 light years from earth and with a mass around 100,000 times greater than the sun, will be the second biggest black hole in our galaxy, trailing Sagittarius A*, which, as a supermassive black hole, is a staggering 4 million times the mass of the sun.
To gather their data, the Japanese research team, headed by Tomoharu Oka, of Tokyo’s Keio University, used the powerful ALMA telescope located at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile.
The scientists based their belief that they had detected an IMBH, because a cloud of lethal gas, close to the galaxy’s centre, was observed to have its component gases moving at drastically different velocities, the cause of which turned out to be immense gravitational forces.
Computer modelling thereafter determined that the movement was most likely caused by a black hole up to 1.4 trillion kilometers (870 billion miles) wide.