Milky Way is quite a wide galaxy, measuring about 100,000 light years in width and containing some smaller black holes apart from the supermassive one situated at the center. However, a new study reveals there might be thousands of others that are hidden right around this center.
Supermassive black holes are not alone at the center of galaxies
Most galaxies have a supermassive black hole that stands in their center. Milky Way makes no exception, with its Sagittarius A black hole that guards the whole galaxy. However, it turns out this is no ordinary formation. A new study suggests there might be thousands of smaller black holes that surround Sagittarius A.
These findings come in support of older theories concerning the interaction of smaller and supermassive black holes. Researchers claimed a supermassive black hole must be surrounded by thousands of others that are smaller. These are actually what was left of stars that were situated around the supermassive black hole. After all their matter got absorbed, they turned into smaller black holes.
Smaller black holes were formed as supermassive ones consumed stars around them
Given the huge size of Sagittarius A, researchers assumed the portion with smaller black holes must spread over at least 6 light years in width. Establishing this surface also helped researchers establish an area of study. This way, they discovered how to look for smaller black holes and even spotted some of them.
The method they found was a lot more effective than searching for black holes. Instead, they started monitoring the X-ray emissions produced when the small formations consumed smaller stars nearby. Even if the emissions are pretty faint, they are strong enough to be detected by scientists.
According to the data they have analyzed, they discovered an approximate number of smaller black holes around Sagittarius A. There were between 300 and 500 binary black holes, while the number of isolated formations went up to 10,000.
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