Our Milky Way galaxy is a pretty peculiar one. Having around two hundred billion stars, and one hundred thousand light-years across, it is also host to the biggest star ever discovered: UY Scuti. But most of all, Milky Way is the only known galaxy that contains intelligent life.
But even so, astronomers still discover things about our galaxy that are baffling their minds. The latest one is represented by unusual movements of gas clouds near the center, and the only explanation seems to be the presence of an odd type of black hole. The discovery has been made by astrophysicist Shunya Takekawa and colleagues of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.
10,000 times more massive than the Sun
We already know that there’s a supermassive black hole at the center of most galaxies, including our own. These kinds of black holes play a primordial role in the existence and development of the galaxies themselves. But the newly discovered clouds of gas are orbiting another hypothetical black hole, one that is 10,000 times more massive than the Sun.
Things get even weirder: if there really is a black hole causing the unusual movement of the gas clouds, it belongs to a type that scientists didn’t even believe it exists.
Black holes are strange enough by definition
Black holes in general are, by far, the strangest objects ever discovered since they defy the laws of physics themselves. The gravitational pull of black holes is so big that not even light can escape from it, time simply stops inside them, and nobody knows for sure what exactly happens to an object that gets pulled into a black hole.
And with the discovery of the weird pattern of the gas clouds, black holes can turn out to be even weirder: astronomers may be dealing with a quiescent black hole, which meaans that it’s not actively feeding, and it emits no detectable radiation.
Their study paper has been accepted by The Astrophysical Journal.