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Posted by Nathan Elbert on October 30, 2000 05:42:25 UTC

1. How are black holes formed?
A. There is no star necessary for a hole to form. A black hole is nothing more than a big ball of matter in space. As matter builds up it forms nebulae, stars, planets, and anything else it pleases. In the process, sometimes you get so large a mass of matter collected that even light can not escape it's gravitational force. (IE - they have an escape velocity of more than 300,00kps/186,000mps).

2. Where are they found in space?
A. Just as randomly scattered about as anything else. As said in the previous response they tend to be located at the centers of massive rotating gravitational systems such as galaxies.

3. Their purposed structure?
Proposed... (sorry, I'm a language nit-picker).
A. They aren't very complex... they are simply pure matter which is very very very hot. It's like a big rock with increadible gravity.

4. Current exploration?
A. We have some photographs of at least one entity which we beleive to be a black hole. Beyond that all exploration is theoretical.

5. Instruments used for searching?
A. As with most other deep-space research on astronomical phenomena we rely on everything from light and radio signals to common sense - observing a large black dot that has enough gravitational pull to hold the Milky Way together.

-NE

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