According to a study undertaken by the Keio University, researchers have possibly detected what could be the second largest black hole in our Milky Way. Gas clouds reckoned as CO-0.40-22 located some 200 light years from the central region of the Milky Way were found by researchers. Observations by the researchers were aided by Nobeyama 45 mm Telescope located in Japan and ASTE Telescope located in Chile.
Detailed observation of the gas was carried out by the researchers, and their findings show that the shape of the cloud to be elliptical. The cloud also has two components, one comprised of a compact component of low density with wide velocity dispersion at about 100 km/second and another dense component extending to about 10 light years and narrow velocity dispersion.
The study author Tomoharu Oka stated that considering compact objects are not seen in infrared or X-ray observations, to the extent that is known now, a black hole is the best candidate for the compact massive object now seen.
A separate study has also suggested that the Milky Way has over 100 million black holes though just about a dozen of them have been identified with the help of X-ray observations. In recent times, however, several compact clouds with wide velocity dispersion have been noticed. Most of these black holes are also believed to be dark and are very difficult to spot directly using any wavelength. However, researchers are hopeful that the ongoing observations of our Milky Way could potentially enhance the number of black holes identified dramatically. The black hole presently discovered could also help scientists gain a better understanding of the evolution and formation of supermassive black holes that are found in the center of nearly every galaxy. Further, assuming the present observation to be true, this could also be the first time ever that astronomers have detected an intermediate massive black hole.
Researchers hold the view that potential black holes may be present in these clouds. Oka also added that investigating the gas motion using radio telescopes could be a complimentary measure to search for these dark black holes.