Japanese astronomersdiscover massive black hole in the Milky Way

Japanese astronomersdiscover massive black hole in the Milky Way

A team of astronomers have said that they might have discovered what is described a massive black hole lurking in the Milky Way.


The team led by Tomoharu Oka, a professor at Keio University in Japan used Nobeyama 45-meter radio telescope and discovered an enigmatic gas cloud called CO-0.40-0.22, which is located only 200 light-years away from the center of the Milky Way. The team determined that it is a massive black hole due to the particular gas cloud.


The found that it was not a typical gas cloud as it had gas with different range of speeds. They also found that the cloud had an elliptical shape and it also had two notable components including a low density component with a very wide velocity dispersion of 100 km/s, and a dense component extending 10 light-years with narrow velocity.


The team concluded that it was not a supernova explosion as observations did not find any compact objects in the cloud. The researchers conducted a simple simulation of gas clouds pulled by a strong gravity source and found that it could have been a black hole.


Oka, who is the lead author of the paper, said, "Investigations of gas motion with radio telescopes may provide a complementary way to search for dark black holes. The ongoing wide area survey observations of the Milky Way with the Nobeyama 45-m telescope and high-resolution observations of nearby galaxies using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array have the potential to increase the number of black hole candidates dramatically."


The paper was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.