An immense black hole 100,000 times bigger than the sun has been discovered at the heart of the Milky Way.
The enormous void, which lies around 25,000 light years from Earth, could help scientists uncover the how stars, galaxies and even life itself came to be in the universe.
Supermassive black holes are said to fuel the birth of stars and influence space-time itself.
According to reports, this newly-discovered black hole could rank as the second largest ever seen in the Milky Way.
Despite its immense size, scientists have called it a "mini me" version of its super-massive "cousin" known as Sagittitarius A*.
Each black hole is deemed to be the driving force of a galaxy's evolution.
A black hole is a region of space that has such an extremely powerful gravitational field that it absorbs all the light that passes near it and reflects none.
Studies predict there are 100 million to one billion black holes looming in the Milky Way - but only 60 or so have been identified so far.
Japanese astronomers found the new black hole looming in a cloud of gas - 16,4000 feet above sea level in the Andes, northern Chile.
Professor Tomoharu Oka, of Keio University in Japan, said the existence of black holes like the new discovery are widely accepted, but their origins remain unknown.
This new finding could increase the number of other black hole candidates, he added.
Ultimately this vast entity is set to make a "considerable contribution to the progress of modern physics".
Despite their widespread existence, the concept of a black hole has only been around for 100 years.
The term was not used until 1967, and only 46 years ago the first void was identified.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.