Black Hole 'Ingredients' Seen In Milky Way's Molecular Clouds

An artist's illustration of a newfound large star cluster near the center of the Milky Way that may be a breeding ground for intermediate black holes.
Scientists investigated our galaxy's central molecular zone, which contains the most massive, densest, and most turbulent molecular clouds in the Milky Way. These surround the heart of our galaxy, which is suspected to be home to a supermassive black hole about 4 million times the mass of the sun.

The central molecular zones of galaxies crowd lots of gas close together, making them good places for stars to form. To learn more about these lively regions, scientists used radio telescopes to compile detailed maps of the temperature and density of clouds at the Milky Way's heart.
Now scientists have discovered four giant clumps of gas that appear to be the kinds of seeds intermediate-mass black holes arise from. These black holes hundreds to thousands of times the mass of the sun that are thought to in turn serve as the building blocks for the supermassive black holes found in the centers of galaxies.


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