Astronomers have found evidence for thousands of black holes near the center of the Milky Way galaxy using data from NASA's Chandray X-ray Observatory.
According to NASA, this bounty of black holes consists of stellar-mass black holes, which tend to weight between five to 30 times the mass of our sun.
They were discovered within three light-years of the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way's center -- known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*).
"Theoretical studies of the dynamics of stars in galaxies have indicated that a large population of stellar mass black holes — as many as 20,000 — could drift inward over the eons and collect around Sgr A*," according to the space agency.
This recent analysis using Chandra data is the first observational evidence for such a black hole bounty.
A black hole by itself is invisible. However, a black hole — or neutron star — locked in close orbit with a star will pull gas from its companion.
The material then falls into a disk, heats up to millions of degrees and produces X-rays before eventually disppearing into the black hole.
Several of these X-ray binaries appear as point-like sources in the Chandra image.