Researchers using the ALMA Observatory have found a new type of black hole 100,000 times the size of our sun in the Milky Way.
Japanese astronomers studying the Milky Way from the ALMA Observatory in northern Chile, found a relatively small black hole (although 100,000 times the size of our sun) near the center of the Milky Way.
Professor Tomoharu Oka of Japan’s Keio University calls it an intermediate-mass black hole, or IMBH, and hopes it holds answers to the development of mysterious black holes.
Prof. Oka believes that black holes with large masses might be the center of all galaxies and crucial to their expansion.
”One possible scenario is intermediate-mass black holes – which are formed by the runaway coalescence of stars in young compact star clusters – merge at the centre of a galaxy to form a supermassive black hole,” says Oka.
With the help of the ALMA telescope, Prof. Oka and his team observed a particle gas cloud some 195 light years near the center of our galaxy.
“Based on the careful analysis of gas kinematics, we concluded a compact object with a mass of about 100,000 solar masses is lurking in this cloud,” Oka added.
Scientists believe that the Milky Way is home to between 100 million and 1 billion black holes, however, only 60 have found so far.
Despite their widespread existence across the whole universe (all existing matter and space as a whole), the concept of a black hole is only a century old. The term was first used in 1967 and the first black hole identified 4 years later.
You can find the Professor Oka’s complete report and findings in the science journal Nature.