Middleweight black hole suspected near Milky Way’s center | Science News



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Middleweight black hole suspected near Milky Way’s center

Turbulent gas cloud suggests presence of strong gravitational influence

6:00am, January 22, 2016
black hole illustration

COSMIC CONTENDER  A black hole (illustrated) weighing the same as roughly 100,000 suns might be stirring up a gas cloud near the center of the Milky Way.

The supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy might have a middleweight neighbor, a new study suggests. If this partner exists, it would be the second most massive black hole known in the Milky Way.

A black hole weighing the same as about 100,000 suns could explain why gas in an interstellar cloud is swirling around at hundreds of kilometers per second, researchers suggest. Tomoharu Oka, an astrophysicist at Keio University in Yokohama, Japan, and colleagues present the findings in the Jan 1. Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Intermediate mass black holes — between 100 and 1 million times as massive as the sun — are highly sought after but hard to find. They might help researchers understand the relationship between black holes with the mass of a few suns and the behemoths that are up to several billion times as massive. Astronomers have yet to turn up definitive

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