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+ - Two supermassive black holes about to embrace->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "NASA's WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) satellite was looking at a distant galaxy, some 3.8 billion light-years away, and saw something rather unusual.

At first they thought that they saw a galaxy was forming new stars at a furious rate, but upon closer checking, they found that they were seeing two super-massive black holes spiraling closer and closer to each others.

The dance of these black hole duos starts out slowly, with the objects circling each other at a distance of about a few thousand light-years.

As the black holes continue to spiral in toward each other, they get closer, separated by just a few light-years.

Supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies typically shoot out pencil-straight jets, but, in this case, the jet showed a zigzag pattern. According to the scientists, a second massive black hole could, in essence, be pushing its weight around to change the shape of the other black hole’s jet.

Visible-light spectral data from the Gemini South telescope in Chile showed similar signs of abnormalities, thought to be the result of one black hole causing disk material surrounding the other black hole to clump. Together, these and other signs point to what is probably a fairly close-knit set of circling black holes, though the scientists can’t say for sure how much distance separates them.

For merging black holes, please see


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Two supermassive black holes about to embrace

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