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Scientists May Have Found Another Black Hole in the Milky Way

The centre of the Milky Way 27 000 light-years away from Earth

If it is a black hole, it would be the second largest in the Milky Way after Sagittarius A.

Large black holes - known as intermediate-mass black holes, or IMBHs - are believed to form after smaller black holes merge together to form bigger ones, which in turn move together to become supermassive ones. 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.

The black hole was observed indirectly using the Alma telescope in Chile. They noticed that the molecules in the elliptical cloud, built up of toxic gases including hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide, were being twisted and pulled by colossal gravitational forces.

Computer models suggest that this is most likely caused by an invisible compact object: an inactive IMBH that does not now accrete matter. Astronomers estimated the black hole has a mass of about 100,000 times that of our sun, and evidence points it's a special kind of black hole that has always been theorized but never identified. If this core is massive enough, it will collapse on itself and form a black hole. The detection of a potential black hole weighing as much as 100,000 suns is precisely the middle step in the process that astronomers have sought. That's a little like a city that's home to only children and the elderly, with no one in between. A stellar-mass black hole forms when a massive star goes supernova.

Professor Oka of Keio university said that it is widely accepted black holes whose masses are expected to be greater than the solar masses.

If confirmed, the phenomena will measure in as an intermediate-mass black hole; a potentially enlightening link between the small black holes, which are born when stars end their lives, and supermassive black holes, existing at the hearts of galaxies.

Previously, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, as well as NASA's NuSTAR and CSIRO's ATCA, have discovered tightly coupled black hole and white dwarf star with the smallest orbit in Milky Way.

Black holes don't emit their own light. Eventually, Oka explained to The Guardian, the object will sink toward Sagittarius A*, closer and closer, until it's swallowed up, increasing the mass of Sagittarius A* as it joins it at the heart of our galaxy. By carefully analysing the gas densities present in the cloud they concluded that it harboured a very large "compact object" that had to be a black hole. Astronomers have long found evidence for small, star-sized black holes-up to about 10 times the sun's mass-and supermassive ones, containing millions or billions of solar masses, in galactic cores.

"Theoretical studies have predicted that 100 million to one billion black holes should exist in the Milky Way, although only 60 or so have been identified through observations so far", the authors continue. If it were, in fact, a black hole, it would provide the first confirmation of the existence of intermediate-mass black holes. Finding out where it originated is much more hard, but the team believes it could have been the core of a dwarf galaxy that the Milky Way swallowed at some point in its history.

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".