A team of astronomers from Japan has detected that the Milky Way has a second supermassive black hole that was hidden under a cloud of gas. The discovery could bear great significance in the understanding of supermassive black holes formation.
There was something hidden in a mysterious gas cloud
The team that made the discovery used the Nobeyama radio telescope that is 45-meter long. They were researching a mysterious cloud of gas that appeared in the center of the Milky Way, at a distance of around 200 light years away from Earth.
It turned out that the mysterious cloud was hiding the fact that the Milky Way has a second supermassive black hole in its componence. The cloud attracted the attention of the astronomers in the first place because it appeared to contain different types of gases travelling at various speeds.
The CO-0.40-0.22, as the cloud was named, revealed its secrets after the Japanese team from the National Observatory of Astronomy thought about using two telescopes, instead of one. They linked the data from the 45-m Nobeyama with those gathered by the ASTE telescope situated in Chile, South America.
The Milky Way has a second supermassive black hole
Upon analyzing the data, the researchers discovered that that the CO-0.40-0.22 was shaped as an ellipsis and had two major components in its structure. The first one presented itself with low density but a very broad velocity dispersion (100km/s). The other was very dense, it stretched on ten light years and had a small velocity dispersion. The velocity dispersion can be used to explain the various ranges of speed at which all matter moves.
For a better understanding of the phenomenon, the team of astronomers created computer simulations in order to determine what was causing the high velocity of dispersion. The computer model that was designed showed that the only possible explanation is that the Milky Way has a second supermassive black hole that generates the gravitational pull which influences the velocity of the gases.
The computer simulations showed that the gas clouds were highly influenced by the presence of a gravity force. And there is only one formation that we know of capable of carrying out so much gravitational pull, and that is a black hole.
This discovery could lead to a better understanding of the gravitational phenomenon
The discovery bears great significance to the scientific community since they have not yet found an explanation for the formation of supermassive black holes. There are two different types of black holes, supermassive black holes and intermediate black holes. The latter forms after a star depletes all of its resources and collapses on itself transforming into a gravitational phenomenon. The supermassive black holes are usually found in the center of galaxies which makes the astronomers suggest that they form after a black hole merger.
Tomoharu Oka, one of the members of the team, said that the research is just beginning and they will continue to use the two telescopes to study the phenomenon since black holes are still kind of a mystery in the scientific community.
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