Detailed observation of cosmic gases in higher resolution revealed the true identity of an object known as HCN-0.009-0.044. Very likely it is a black hole it a mass of about 32 thousand Suns.
While black holes are truly massive objects that doesn’t mean they are always easy to find. And when a black hole isn’t feeding itself it’s actually really hard to find them as they aren’t radiating any electromagnetic waves – apart from Hawking radiation that we can’t detect. To find such not hungry black holes we need to use a few tricks.
Nowadays we know two basic types of black holes. First are star-sized black holes that are created when a large star collapses. These have a mass of up to 100 Suns. Secondly, we know of supermassive black holes – gigantic monsters that start their mass at around 100 thousand Sund and can reach to up to billion Suns.
You might have noticed that there is a bit of a gap between those two. That is where intermediate-mass black holes should lie. And scientists are looking for them really hard. So far they only managed to discover a few indirect pieces of evidence of their evidence – but some nice direct evidence is still missing.
One of the hunters on this hunt are experts from the National Astronomy Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). And it seems that they had quite a stroke of luck as it seems that they found one of the mythical intermediate-mass black holes.
Shunya Takekawa and his colleagues studied an object known as HCN-0.009-0.044 with the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA). ALMA found that jets of cosmic gas are orbiting the object. From the shape and movement of the jets, the experts deduced that it has a mass of around 32 thousand Suns. This very likely makes the object an intermediate-mass black hole. Its size would be roughly equal to Jupiter.