Japanese astronomers discovered second largest black hole in Milky Way

Jan 21, 2016 14:13 IST

Black Hole

Japanese astronomers’ team discovered the second largest black hole in Milky Way. They mapped high-velocity compact cloud called CO-0.40-0.22 with a mass 100000 times that of the Sun around 200 light years away from the centre of the Milky Way.

The research related to this was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters with the title ‘Signature of an Intermediate-Mass Black Hole in the Central Molecular Zone of Our Galaxy’ on 28 December 2015.

A team led by Tomoharu Oka, a professor at Keio University observed this mysterious cloud with two radio telescopes, the Nobeyama 45m Radio Telescope in Japan and the ASTE Telescope in Chile. These both telescopes are operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

The cloud has an elliptical shape and consists of an intense region with a shallow velocity gradient and a less intense high-velocity wing. Its compactness and the absence of counterparts at other wavelengths suggest that this massive object is an intermediate-mass black hole.

Astronomers already know about two sizes of black holes — stellar-mass black holes, formed after the gigantic explosions of very massive stars; and supermassive black holes (SMBH) often found at the centres of galaxies.

Monster Black Hole is the largest and brightest ever found with a mass about 12 billion times that of the sun. So, the present found on would the second largest.

What is Black Hole?

A black hole is a region in space where the pulling force of gravity is so strong that light is not able to escape. The strong gravity occurs because matter has been pressed into a tiny space. This compression can take place at the end of a star's life. Some black holes are a result of dying stars.

Because no light can escape, black holes are invisible. However, space telescopes with special instruments can help find black holes. They can observe the behavior of material and stars that are very close to black holes.

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