Published On: Sun, Sep 1st, 2019

Black hole bombshell: How engulfing spacetime was found lurking in Milky Way’s heart | Science | News

A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing can escape, not even light. These cosmic phenomena are said to form when massive stars collapse at the end of their life cycle. Then, they can continue to grow by absorbing mass from their surroundings, engulfing stars in their path and merging with other black holes.

A team of Japanese astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) telescope captured details of a previously unknown structure located near the centre of the Milky Way. 

Their analysis of its motion determined that it was an intermediate-mass black hole, whose cloud has been labelled HCN–0.009–0.044.

Lead author of the study Shunya Takekawa wrote in March: “Detailed kinematic analysis revealed that an enormous mass, 30,000 times that of the sun, was concentrated in a region much smaller than our Solar System. 

“This and the lack of any observed object at that location strongly suggests an intermediate-mass black hole.

“By analysing other anomalous clouds, we hope to expose other quiet black holes.”

The team’s discovery suggests that many other similar black holes could be hidden around the centre of the Milky Way. 

Their theory suggests that intermediate-mass black holes might merge with each other and grow by swallowing surrounding material in order to form supermassive black holes.

Co-author Tomoharu Oka added: “It is significant that this intermediate-mass black hole was found only 20 light-years from the supermassive black hole at the galactic centre. 

“In the future, it will fall into the supermassive black hole, much like gas is currently falling into it.

JUST IN: Theories swirl around ‘discovery’ of ‘physically impossible’ black hole

“So your torso will stay alive for a little while, until you bleed to death, but it all happens much faster.

The two pieces then feel tidal forces and they snap into two pieces and they snap again into eight and then 16.

“Eventually it’s your head and multiple other parts.”

Dr Tyson went on to detail how the human body will eventually become one continuous piece of matter.

He added: “So that will continue until you are a stream of atoms descending towards the abyss.” 

“That’s not the worst part, because the fabric of space and time funnels down towards a black hole.

“So the space that you occupy up here is larger than the space you occupy down here.

“So, in fact, while you’re getting stretched, you’re getting squeezed, extruded through the fabric of space like toothpaste through a tube.”

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