Black hole BREAKTHROUGH: Hidden black hole 30,000 times bigger than Sun FOUND in Milky Way

Black holes are the universe’s most mysterious entities. And scientists have come one small step closer to understanding the impossibly powerful phenomena. For astronomers have detected a “quiet” black hole from its effects on its interstellar environment.

Black holes exert such strong gravity that nothing, even light, can escape beyond the event horizon.

Because black holes emit no light, their existence has to be inferred by their gravitational effects.

The enigmatic object range in mass considerably: from the mass of the Sun to millions of time larger.

Astronomers believe small black holes merge and gradually grow into large ones, but no one had ever found an intermediate-mass black hole weighing hundreds or thousands of times the mass of the sun – until now.

Intrigued by a swirling cloud of gas near the heart of the Milky Way, a team of astronomers led by Dr Shunya Takekawa at Japan’s National Astronomical Observatory measured its motion.

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And the scientists concluded the only explanation was a previously unknown intermediate-mass black hole.

The “quiet” black hole is located just 20 light years from the supermassive black hole holding court at the centre of our solar system.

Dr Takekawa said: “Detailed kinematic analyses (of the newly-discovered hole) 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.

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

The findings have been described as “significant” as intermediate mass black hole was found only 20 light-years from the supermassive black hole at the middle of the Milky Way, said Tomoharu Oka, a professor at Keio Universit.

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

“This supports the merger model of black hole growth.”

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The findings coincide with a growing scientific consensus that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is in need of an update, and the key to achieving this could be hidden in the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.

Professor Andrea Ghez, who led a 20-year-long black hole experiment, thinks there are a number of shortcomings in Einstein's theories that need to be tackled.

She said: “Exploring the universe offers an opportunity to see the most extreme forms of gravity, what we are seeing today is Einstein’s ideas don’t completely explain everything.

“You can hark back to the days of Newton – who had the previous best description of gravity –and at some point we realised we had to move beyond Newton, to get a more complete vision.

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“It is not to say these ideas are wrong, it is they are too simple – they don’t explain how gravity or the universe works in all conditions.

“As we explore these more and more extreme conditions we see that there is something missing.”

The research team used cutting-edge optic technology to measure the orbits of stars near the middle of our Milky Way.

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