The centre of the Milky Way is full of holes
The large black hole at the centre of our galaxy is not the only one. A new study indicates that an entire swarm of small black holes are orbiting it, swallowing matter from the stars around them.
Astronomers from the Columbia University in New York, USA, have taken a closer look at more than 10 years of recordings from the Chandra space telescope. Twelve sources stand out. From those, the X-radiation is so powerful that according to theories, it can only come from the extremely hot matter orbiting a black hole. The 12 holes were produced by very large stars, which burned out and collapsed under their own weight. Only stars that weigh 25+ times more than the Sun can end up as black holes.
The newly-discovered black holes are within 3.3 light years of the centre of the Milky Way. The discovery confirms the most recent theories about the development of galaxies, according to which the Milky Way must be ripe with stars that have become black holes. Over time, many of them will move towards the centre. According to theory, there ought to be thousands orbiting close to the superheavy black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.
The huge black hole weighs millions of times more than the Sun and was probably born early in the history of the galaxy. Since then, it has grown bigger by swallowing matter. Astronomers’ new discoveries are known as stellar black holes due to their origins. They are very small compared to the huge one at the centre of our galaxy.
The Chandra X-ray telescope has found 12 black holes within a radius of 3.3 light years (yellow circle) from the centre of the Milky Way.