Japanese astronomers have found evidence of a gigantic black hole, one hundred thousand times the size of the sun to be exact, at the very centre of the Milky Way.
This enormous hole, known as Sagittarius A*, was previously concealed by a toxic waste cloud, which is why it has gone under the radar up until now.
The astronomers made the discovery when pointing an extremely powerful Alma telescope at the waste cloud from the Atacame desert in Chile.
The purpose of this was to better understand the odd movement of the gases, which were all moving at dramatically different speeds.
— Nature Astronomy (@NatureAstronomy) September 4, 2017
The telescope revealed the molecules within the cloud were being pulled around by strong gravitational forces.
The most likely cause for this would be a black hole, at least 1.4 trillion km wide. Radio waves emanating from the core of the cloud further back this dizzying assumption.
Astronomer Tomoharu Oka, from Tokyo discussed the findings in the scientific journal Nature:
This is the first detection of an intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the Milky Way galaxy
— Imgur (@imgur) August 20, 2017
According to Tomoharu, Sagittarius A* could well be the heart of an ancient dwarf galaxy which was devoured when the Milky Way was first formed. Spooky stuff…
— New Scientist Live (@newscilive) August 30, 2017
If officially confirmed, Sagittarius A* will be the second largest black hole within the Milky Way.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.