Evidence found for mid-sized black hole near center of Milky Way

September 5, 2017 by Bob Yirka report
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Keio University in Japan has found evidence of a mid-sized black hole near the center of the Milky Way galaxy. In their paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the group describes their study of a gas cloud cluster near the center of our galaxy and why they believe it offers evidence of a mid-sized black hole.

Over the years, scientists have found a lot of physical evidence of large and small black holes, but very little evidence for those in the mid-size range. This has led to an intense search, which until now, has come up mostly empty—mid-size black holes are exceedingly difficult to spot.

The team reports that last year, they discovered a near the of the Milky Way that appeared to behave in odd ways—some of the gasses were moving faster than others. The cloud, named CO-0.40-0.22, was intriguing because not only did it represent the possibility of finding an intermediate black hole, but it could also explain how massive black holes come to exist at the centers of galaxies, such as our own Milky way.

The team originally spotted the gas cloud using the Nobeyama radio telescope in Japan—but to learn more about what they had found required something bigger, so they ventured to Chile, where they gained access to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. The researchers found that there was a dense part of the gas cloud near its center that also showed varying velocities. Better yet, just next to the clump, they found a source of radio waves that was very similar to those generated from the giant black hole at the center of Milky Way, but 500 times weaker. The two findings together suggested very strongly the presence of a mid-sized black hole. To add further evidence, the researchers built a simulation of the gas cloud and its characteristics, particularly the gas velocities, and found that it, too, pointed to a mid-sized black hole.

These findings offer strong of a mid-sized black hole, though it is not clear how it might have come to that location. But as more research is done and the find is confirmed, the mid-sized black hole could explain how giant black holes at the centers of galaxies are formed—by swallowing nearby mid-sized , perhaps.

Explore further: A possible explanation for why no intermediate sized black holes have been found

More information: Tomoharu Oka et al. Millimetre-wave emission from an intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the Milky Way, Nature Astronomy (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41550-017-0224-z

Abstract
It is widely accepted that black holes with masses greater than a million solar masses (M⊙) lurk at the centres of massive galaxies. The origins of such 'supermassive' black holes (SMBHs) remain unknown, although those of stellar-mass black holes are well understood. One possible scenario is that intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs), which are formed by the runaway coalescence of stars in young compact star clusters, merge at the centre of a galaxy to form a SMBH3. Although many candidates for IMBHs have been proposed, none is accepted as definitive. Recently, we discovered a peculiar molecular cloud, CO–0.40–0.22, with an extremely broad velocity width, near the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. Based on the careful analysis of gas kinematics, we concluded that a compact object with a mass of about 105M⊙ is lurking in this cloud. Here we report the detection of a point-like continuum source as well as a compact gas clump near the centre of CO–0.40–0.22. This point-like continuum source (CO–0.40–0.22*) has a wide-band spectrum consistent with 1/500 of the Galactic SMBH (Sgr A*) in luminosity. Numerical simulations around a point-like massive object reproduce the kinematics of dense molecular gas well, which suggests that CO–0.40–0.22* is one of the most promising candidates for an intermediate-mass black hole.

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19 comments

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physman
5 / 5 (3) Sep 05, 2017
cool
Chris_Reeve
1.8 / 5 (10) Sep 05, 2017
From the paper ...

"It belongs to a peculiar category of molecular clouds called high-velocity compact clouds (HVCCs)"

http://physweb.bg...7096.pdf

On the Critical Ionization Velocity Effect in Interstellar Space and Possible Detection of Related Continuum Emission

"Interstellar neutral hydrogen (HI) emission spectra manifest several families of linewidths whose numerical values (34, 13, and 6 km/s) appear to be related to the critical ionization velocities (CIVs) of the most abundant interstellar atomic species. Extended new analysis of HI emission profiles shows that the 34-km/s-wide component, which probably corresponds to the CIV for helium, is pervasive. The 34-km/s-wide linewidth family is found in low-velocity (local) HI profiles and in the so-called high-velocity clouds (HVCs)."

In other words, their evidence for a black hole is really just evidence for ongoing ionization. The black hole conjecture is simply tacked on.
Da Schneib
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 05, 2017
The article is open access. Have fun.

This object is some 125 light years from Sgr A*, so it won't be merging within our lifetimes, but we will be able to get its trajectory fairly shortly (a decade or less) and that will be very interesting. This is actually quite interesting because this is the first one we've found in the Milky Way with strong evidence (three lines of evidence in this paper).
Chris_Reeve
1.8 / 5 (10) Sep 05, 2017
Da Schneib, think for a second about the logic here ...

HVC's are simply anomalous-velocity clouds which have been generally shown to exhibit CIV's for the universe's most common elements. In simple terms, that means that we have charged particles slamming into neutrals at sufficient velocities to ionize them.

What the researchers are doing is saying that since they cannot identify the cause for the cloud's velocity, that it MUST be a black hole. And why don't we see the cause? Well, because their claimed entity is not directly visible. How exactly can somebody falsify such a claim?

But, more than that, the fact that HVC's have generally been observed to be associated with CIV's poses a further problem: Observations of the ionosphere indicate that it only takes around 1% ionization for a gas to behave as a plasma. At that point, the cloud's inherent electrodynamics takes over and gravity (and hence, the black hole) is just completely moot.
jonesdave
3.9 / 5 (7) Sep 05, 2017
At that point, the cloud's inherent electrodynamics takes over and gravity (and hence, the black hole) is just completely moot


Really? Please show me a paper within the last 10 years that claims such.

jonesdave
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 05, 2017
Da Schneib, think for a second about the logic here ...


Lol. Isn't that a bit illogical, coming from somebody who still believes in Velikovskian woo?
Come on, Chris; where was Saturn 10 000 years ago, love? 20 000 years ago? You believe in physics defying woo, you burke. Do not pretend to lecture far smarter people than you on physics.Yes? Now go away, and play with the morons at Thunderdolts. That is your level. Idiot.
jonesdave
3.3 / 5 (7) Sep 05, 2017
For anybody who is reasonably scientifically literate, the paper is freely available here:

https://arxiv.org...7603.pdf
jonesdave
3.3 / 5 (7) Sep 05, 2017
Could anybody from the loony tunes garbage that is "electric universe", please explain the velocity differences? What has this got to do with CIV? Please explain. Scientifically.
jonesdave
3 / 5 (8) Sep 05, 2017
Da Schneib, think for a second about the logic here ...

HVC's are simply anomalous-velocity clouds which have been generally shown to exhibit CIV's for the universe's most common elements. In simple terms, that means that we have charged particles slamming into neutrals at sufficient velocities to ionize them.

What the researchers are doing is saying that since they cannot identify the cause for the cloud's velocity, that it MUST be a black hole. And why don't we see the cause? Well, because their claimed entity is not directly visible. How exactly can somebody falsify such a claim?

But, more than that,...yada yada yada.


Dear God, there is some crap written on here, but Reeve surely takes the biscuit for chief crapperer. What did you qualify in, Chris? Astrology? Homeopathy? Velikovskianism? Ever attended a science lesson, dear? No, thought not. Strewth.

Mimath224
5 / 5 (1) Sep 05, 2017
Interesting article. Yes, I can see how the inference of a mid sized BH is building here. I do hope that others will follow in the observations over greater time and more equipment. Must admit I hadn't given this type of find much thought...oh well, learn something new and I have something else to think about.
@jonesdave you mention Velikovskyism etc. While you and I might disagree with V's conclusions Velikovsky did a lot of work to form his conclusion(s). But I always feel that if someone has the integrity to 'stand up and be counted' with his/her work then that is good. Those that lack integrity often follow blindly, don't do the 'work' or prefer certain conclusions just to go against the grain, as it were. Astrology and Homeopathy are, in principle, different V's studies but this is not the place to discuss them. Ha, you made me smile with your 'Strewth'...haven't seen or used that word in ages.
Chris_Reeve
2.8 / 5 (9) Sep 05, 2017
Re: "Could anybody from the loony tunes garbage that is "electric universe", please explain the velocity differences? What has this got to do with CIV?"

Simply put, if it can be shown that ionization is at play, then the thing you are looking at -- the stuff emitting the 21cm wavelength -- hardly needs a black hole to move it. These neutrals are not then governed by gravity; they would be dragged along by the motions of the surrounding plasma which is generated by the observed ionization.
Chris_Reeve
2.7 / 5 (7) Sep 05, 2017
To be clear, Dr. Verschuur is not a part of the Thunderbolts Group. He's an independent radio astronomer who has found the CIV effect to be a useful mechanism for explaining anomalous linewidths.

On the Critical Ionization Velocity Effect in Interstellar Space and Possible Detection of Related Continuum Emission
Gerrit Verschuur

"... More highly ionized gas has also been found to be associated with HVCs, which suggest that the ionization is produced at the interfaces between rapidly moving HI structures and surrounding (galactic) coronal gas [23]. Others have drawn a different conclusion, claiming that the H-a emission proves that the high-velocity gas is immersed in a hot medium [24]. However, we suggest that high-velocity gas could be creating the hot medium during its passage through interstellar space by the action of the CIV effect ..."
Da Schneib
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 05, 2017
@jonesdave, the article is open access at Nature: Astronomy, and it has all the pretty graphs and stuff too. It's good to have the arXiv link, but in this case it's redundant.
yep
3 / 5 (6) Sep 06, 2017
http://physweb.bg...7096.pdf
JonesDumb the only black hole is the one in your head.
I'm still laughing at you, Garbage in garbage out felcher.
Chris_Reeve
2.7 / 5 (7) Sep 06, 2017
Black hole promoters would be wise to revisit the simple algebra that defines the gravitational force. There are really three compounding problems here:

(1) The distances at play are by the mainstream's own admission truly profound, and not sufficiently conveyed by the science journalism we are subjected to on these topics: Consider that if the distance from the Sun to the Earth was instead just an inch, then the distance from the Sun to the next star would in fact be 4 MILES.

(2) Gravity is just extraordinarily weak. Try calculating the gravitational force between the Sun and its nearest neighbor (a binary). When converted into Earth gee's, it comes to 1.528E-14 Earth gee's.

(3) Gravity acting over these interstellar distances is easily overwhelmed by any local EM. This is just common sense: A very small bar magnet can easily overwhelm the gravitational force of the entire Earth, even without the addition of interstellar distances.
Chris_Reeve
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 06, 2017
In each case, the numbers at play are staggering. And in each case, they act to undermine the argument that gravity is the organizing force AT THE INTERSTELLAR SCALE.

The reality of this historical moment is that most of these ideas which place gravity as the principle organizing force in the universe come from a by-now distant time when it was widely believed that space is basically empty. These ideas can fairly be called pre-Space Age.

It wasn't until 1958 -- extremely late in this theorizing process -- that the first rockets were sent into space. Einstein didn't even make it to this discovery, having died in 55.

By 63, James Van Allen was lecturing the world on the plasma nature of space. He likened space to a Crooke's tube plasma.

The same Popular Science magazine which featured the Van Allen interview stated in big bold letters at the top of one of the pages:

"'Space' was invented on Earth before we knew what was out there" (April 1963 issue)
Chris_Reeve
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 06, 2017
At the scale of the individual theorist, it is possible to acknowledge that "yes, the fundamental state of matter in the universe is plasma" without really admitting to the need for any true change.

At the scale of the scientific community, it is also easy to see that the community will reward those most clever theorists who manage to find a way out of the empty vacuum of space mistake the community now finds itself in. Those ideas which enable the community to avoid undoing the elaborate theoretical structure which has already been constructed at great human cost will not surprisingly win out in such a situation.

In such a situation, the inherent contradictions that result will oftentimes be obscured by conceptual and mathematical groupthink (e.g., making gravity more powerful by dividing by zero), "work-in-progress" constructs like dark matter which never truly resolve, and dismissals and ridicule of those who dare to point out the contradictions.
Benni
3 / 5 (8) Sep 06, 2017
Black hole promoters would be wise to revisit the simple algebra that defines the gravitational force. There are really three compounding problems here:


@Chris,

BH Enthusiasts are the least scientifically literate who populate the Comments section here, they are also the most prolific foulmouthed name callers. They cannot prove GRAVITY fields can exist in the absence of MASS, yet they will go on the most extreme tirades when they are challenged to prove gravity is MASS DEPENDENT as dictated withIn the Einstein Field Equations.

The jonesys & schneibos have this fantasy that INFINITE GRAVITY & INFINITE DENSITY can exist inside a FINITE STELLAR MASS. The funny farm science these people have deluded themselves with is entertainingly delusional to read. They really do believe gravity can just show up out of nowhere simply by taking a GIVEN MASS & shrinking the volume of space in which it occupies, and POOF more gravity just appears from out of nowhere.
Chris_Reeve
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 06, 2017
The algebra of gravity (1, 2 and 3 above) plainly suggests that gravity just cannot dominate at the interstellar scale. All of Einstein aside, gravity is plainly a localized forced, much like the Van der Waals force. Black holes and dark matter are, combined, a desperate attempt by theorists who have dug in their heels to resist the Space Age revelation that a great mistake has been made.

They want you to believe that they can, in the stroke of a pen writing just a few equations, change the universe's interstellar medium from an empty vacuum to a plasma medium, and yet still retain every single one of the pre-Space Age ideas that their careers were built upon.

It's at once a rejection of the history of science, a rejection of common sense, an invitation to participate in fantasy, a rejection of basic algebra and a reliance upon grade school tactics to preserve a tradition which by now is blocking many important innovations.

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