Supermassive black hole discovered near heart of the Milky Way

Artist's impression of the Milky Way

Black-hole haven artist's impression of the Milky Way

In this case, the presence of the black hole was given away by the unusually fast-moving gases surrounding it. Astronomers in Japan observed that the elements wafting around this particular cloud formation, which is a enormous gas behemoth 150 trillion kms. wide and is located about 200 light years from the heart of the Milky Way, were moving way quicker and at totally different speeds that those in similar clouds elsewhere in space.

Lying for about 25000 light years away from earth, how did the Milky way evolve?? With an estimated mass of around 100,000 times that of our sun, they believe it could be a special type of black hole that has always been hypothesized but never officially identified.

One hypothesis, which scientists have always been looking to confirm, is the presence of what's called intermediate-mass black holes, which researchers think might act as seeds for their more massive counterparts.

An artist's impression of a growing supermassive black hole located in the early Universe.

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'We wanted to see how black holes can affect the evolution of galaxies a whole, ' said astronomer Dr Bjorn Emonts, from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the US.

It's hard to find black holes - because they are completely black. "We think some of those black holes are the seeds from which the much larger supermassive black holes grow to at least a million times more massive". The spectrum of that source appeared very similar to that of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the radio source believed to be the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, but 500 times less luminous.

The scientists' suspicion that a black hole lay in the midst of the gas cloud received a boost when further observations picked up radio waves indicative of a black hole coming from the centre of the cloud, said Tomoharu Oka, an astronomer at Keio University in Tokyo.

But intermediate-sized black holes have eluded detection.

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We know there's a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, and now we have evidence for another one. While astronomers have identified many objects that could be IMBHs, none of these sightings are accepted as being definitive. The cloud has unusual properties which scientists believe to be the result of a gravitational blow caused by a compact object of the size of 105 solar masses.

Prof Oka said it suggests 'this massive object is an inactive IMBH which is not now accreting matter'.

The concept of Black holes was firstly predicted by Albert Einstein. The term itself did not come into use until 1967, and it was just 46 years ago that the first one was identified. Scientists will continue their research in the hopes of further detecting these high-velocity compact masses.

The finding can possibly lead to proof for generational relativity, a step that scientists claim would "make a considerable contribution to the progress of modern physics".

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