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Astronomers led by Dr. Tomoharu Oka at Japan’s Keio University recently discovered an intermediate-mass black hole near the center of our galaxy. The object, called CO-0.40-0.22*, contains 100,000 solar masses and is located 200 light years from the galactic center. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array in Chile, the team measured radio waves emitting from the movement of gas in an interstellar carbon monoxide cloud. Their findings, published in Nature, suggest an intermediate-mass black hole exists inside the cloud.  Intermediate-mass black holes form from the collisions of large stars in dense clusters, which merge and then collapse into intermediate-mass black holes. According to Dr. Oka’s report, “large galaxies such as the Milky Way grew to their present form by cannibalizing their smaller neighbors.”

This means black holes at the centers of nearby dwarf galaxies could have collided with other black holes in the Milky Way and were eventually swallowed by the supermassive black hole in our galactic center.

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