Astronomers have discovered hundreds of strange thread-like structures in the center of our galaxy that may trace the violent path of an ancient black hole.
According to a new study published June 2 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, each of these previously unknown “filaments” is between 5 and 10 light-years long — thousands of times the distance between the Sun and Pluto — but is only visible in radio waves, making means that the structures were likely created by bursts of high-energy particles invisible to the naked eye.
The vast structures lie in the middle of our Milky Way galaxy and point to our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole. Scientists say there are hundreds of them, each 5 to 10 light-years across, and that they may be the unhealed scars of an ancient, high-energy black hole that tore apart the surrounding gas clouds.
Scientists do not have a definite explanation for the source of these structures, and much remains a mystery about their existence. But one possible explanation is that they formed a few million years ago.