Picture of the black hole of the artist.
Credit: NASA Space Flight Center
Scientists believe they have noticed a rare black hole in size Jupiter that casually walks around the Milky Way galaxy.
Certainly, scientists can not see any black holes directly – but new studies tracking the cloud's sky structure have seen strange behavior that may have been caused by such an invisible object. These data were obtained thanks to the Millennium / Submillimeter Array – a set of 66 telescopes scattered across the Atacama desert in northern Chile.
"When I first checked the ALMA data, I was very excited because the gas observed showed obvious orbital movements that strongly suggest an invisible massive object that is hiding," said Shunya Takekawa, a physicist at Japan's National Astronomical Observatory, New Scientist.
Takekawa and colleagues used ALMA to study two gas cloud that the team called Balloon and Stream for their shape during a two-day period in May 2018. During that time, they watched the gas move oddly as if spinning around a center.
This movement allowed the team to estimate that 30,000 times the mass of our sun was packed in a Jupiter-sized object at the center of the movement. These characteristics, coupled with the lack of light coming from the site, suggest that the culprit is an average size for a black hole.
Scientists believe that small black holes and super-massive black holes are quite common, but there are not many black holes of medium size. Astronomers believe they have noticed two other black holes in that size near the heart of the Milky Way. All three, if future observations continue to see evidence of them, may have escaped the giant black hole in the center of our galaxy.
The study is described in an article published on the Prescription Server arXiv.org on December 27th.