"We think the jet of one black hole is being wiggled by the other, like a dance with ribbons," said Chao-Wei Tsai, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lead author of this research set to appear in a paper to be published in the Dec. 10 issue of Astrophysical Journal. "If so, it is likely the two black holes are fairly close and gravitationally entwined."
There's only one way this extreme cosmic dance will end - both black holes will eventually spiral together, losing energy and momentum to gravitational waves rippling from their spacetime warping, collide and merge to form an even bigger black hole.
Black hole mergers are a rare event to observe and only a few candidates have been found. Some black hole merger candidates have been identified, but this example is the most distant discovered to date. Following the WISE discovery of the black hole pair, radio emission data from the ATCA spotted the strange zig-zag pattern one of the black holes' jets seemed to be producing. Then, from infrared/optical data gathered by Gemini South, the anomalous jet wiggle was confirmed. Clumpiness in material surrounding one of the suspected black holes also indicates the local region is being perturbed by the gravitational presence of another black hole.