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'Seeds' of massive black holes found at the center of the Milky Way galaxy

• byNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Using radio telescopes, the research team led by Associate Professor Oka has found four “warm, dense (more than 50 degrees Kelvin, more than 10,000 hydrogen molecules per cubic centimeter)” masses of molecular gas at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Three of those masses of molecular gas have been expanding. This research suggests that supernova explosions caused the expansion. It is estimated that the largest explosion that occurred in the masses of molecular gas is equivalent to 200 supernova explosions. On the other hand, the age of the gas masses is approximately 60,000 years old. Therefore, it can be inferred that a huge star cluster is buried in one of the gas masses. The mass of the cluster (more than 100,000 times the mass of the sun) is comparable to the largest star cluster found in the Milky Way Galaxy. It is thought that IMBHs are formed within such huge star clusters. Eventually, IMBHs born near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy form/expand into a supermassive black hole at the nucleus of the galaxy.
Many galaxies contain enormous amounts of molecular gas in small areas near their nuclei. Highly condensed molecular gas is a birthplace of lots of stars. Moreover, it is considered to closely relate to activities of galactic nuclei. Therefore, it is important to investigate the physical state and chemical properties of molecular gas at galaxy centers through observation. To obtain detailed observation data, it is best to survey the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in which our solar system exists.

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