Space

The mystery of extra mass in Milky Way has been unraveled

The mystery of extra mass in Milky Way has been unraveled

Scientists, from Italy, Mexico and U.S, while looking for the hidden masses in the Milky Way, discovered a fact about the black hole present at the heart of our galaxy. The black hole which has been sleeping for a while was once active when the first humans known as hominins stepped the Earth.

The new study published in Astrophysical Journal Letters suggests that the weight of the Milky Way galaxy is about 1-2 trillion times than that of our sun, out of which 5/6th of it is in the form of dark matter and the other 1/6th is the normal matter. Astronomers were confused as the left 1/6th matter weighted only 65 billion solar masses when it should have been 150-300 billion solar masses after counting all the stars, dust and gas of the galaxy.

Lead author of the study and an astrophysicist at the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) Fabrizio Nicastro, said “We played a cosmic game of hide-and-seek. And we asked ourselves, where could the missing mass be hiding? We analyzed archival X-ray observations from the XMM-Newton spacecraft and found that the missing mass is in the form of a million-degree gaseous fog permeating our galaxy. That fog absorbs X-rays from more distant background sources”

When they couldn’t match their computer model observations with the evenly distributed gas, they learned that extremely hot gas, which is hard to be seen is wrapped in a bubble at the centre, extending one third way to the Earth. The bubble itself can weigh 130 solar masses.

After this observation, all the points seemed to have a connection and it was also found that the black hole went under hibernation as it released the energy for clearing out the bubble, it swallowed some gas and the rest was pumped at 1000 km per second making it travel to 20,000 light years of space in 6 million years.

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