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Astronomers Discover New ‘Mid-size’ Black Hole 100,000 Times More Massive than the Sun

Scientists predict that nearly 100 million of these small black holes should exist in the Milky Way, however only about 60 have been found till now

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Black hole in milky way
A near-infrared image of a black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy as seen with Hubble Space Telescope/NICMOS. (NASA/STScI) (VOA)
  • Researches in Japan have discovered a super-massive black hole in Milky Way Galaxy
  • The black hole is believed to weigh as much as 400 suns
  • According to studies,  at least 100 million of these small black holes should exist in the Milky Way

Japan, September 5, 2017 : Astronomers have found new evidence for the existence of a mid-sized black hole, considered the missing link in the evolution of super-massive black holes.

Astronomers in Japan found the possible black hole in our own Milky Way galaxy, a long-theorized object which is bigger than the small black holes formed from a single star, but still much smaller than giant black holes such as the one at the center of the Milky Way.

Black holes are difficult to find because they do not emit any light. However, scientists can detect them by their influence on nearby objects.

The astronomers in Japan found new evidence of the so-called intermediate-mass black hole when they turned a powerful telescope in Chile’s Atacama desert on a gas cloud near the center of the Milky Way. The gases in the cloud move at unusual speeds, and the scientists believed they were being pulled by immense gravitational forces. They say the gravitational force is likely caused by a black hole measuring about 1.4 trillion kilometers across.

black hole in Milky way galaxy
Radio telescope antennas of the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) project are seen in the Atacama desert, some 1500 km north of Santiago, Chile, VOA

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Theoretical studies predict at least 100 million of these small black holes should exist in the Milky Way, however only about 60 have been found.

The possible mid-sized black hole is much smaller than the super massive black hole that is located in the center of the galaxy, known as Sagittarius A, which weighs as much as 400 million suns.

“This is the first detection of an intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the Milky Way galaxy,” said the study’s leader, Tomoharu Oka from Keio University, Japan.

If confirmed, the intermediate-mass black hole could help explain how supermassive black holes operate. One theory is that supermassive black holes, which are at the center of most massive galaxies, are formed when smaller black holes steadily coalesce into larger ones. However, until now no definitive evidence has existed for intermediate-mass black holes that could indicate a middle step between the small and massive black holes already detected.

Researchers say they will continue to study the intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the hope of confirming its existence. (VOA)

Next Story

Chinese Authorities Suspends Website for Black Hole Copyright: Report

Founded in June 2000, VCG had collected revenues to the tune of 700 million yuan ($104.18 million) in the first three quarters of 2018

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US clothing brand Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an
Accurate Map of China. Pixabay

Chinese authorities have suspended the website of the country’s largest stock images provider after it was found to have put its copyright mark on the first ever photo taken of a black hole, state-owned China Daily newspaper reported on Friday.

Visual China Group (VCG) has been alleged to have published with its watermark the black hole photo soon after it was released on Wednesday, leading the cyberspace affairs authority in Tianjin (north) to suspend its website, Efe news reported citing the daily.

The incident led to the National Copyright Administration in China announcing that it would launch a campaign to regulate the image copyright market, underlining that firms should set up mechanisms to uphold copyright as per legal requirements.

The copyright claim over a picture, which was released by Event Horizon Telescope and was not meant for commercial usage, meant that users downloading the image from VCG were required to pay for it.

All images provided by organizations like the European Southern Observatory and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are available for free as long as users cite the source.

The photo of the black hole, located 53.3 million light years from the Earth and taken by the Event Horizon Telescope, also fell under this category.

Black Hole
An image of the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the sun.
VOA

The Chinese company issued a statement saying they had obtained the rights of the image for use in the media and not for commercial use such as advertisements.

However, ESO – which holds the rights over the image – has denied having received any message from VCG, and said it was illegal for the Chinese firm to ask money for the use of the photo.

The incident led to protests in social networks in the Asian country, some of them from other companies and organizations that found their own content on the VCG website.

Also Read- Collective Attention Span Among People Decreases Rapidly as of 24/7 News Availability

Moreover, the Communist Youth League Central Committee, on its official handle on Weibo – Chinese equivalent of Twitter – criticized VCG for making users pay for photographs of the national emblem on its website.

The authorities at Tianjin decided to suspend the website in the wake of the controversy, even though VCG released another statement with an apology and admitting that many of its images came from third parties without any ties to their company.

Founded in June 2000, VCG had collected revenues to the tune of 700 million yuan ($104.18 million) in the first three quarters of 2018. (IANS)