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There's no getting away from black holes. So powerful are their gravitational fields, not even light can escape. That's why they're black - see illustration above. And that's why they can only be seen indirectly - by observing their effect on surrounding space.

NB: these links open in a new browser window

First look at this Black Hole FAQ site it covers lots of commonly asked questions about black, white, worm holes and what one might encounter at and near them. (November 00)

This is a small FAQ ish with a bit more Black Hole History, including names and dates. (November 00)

To really understand how Black Holes warp everything around them, it may help to see a computer simulation by the University ofArizona, which has fabulous images and a gentle walk through the maths and physics of what happens. (November 00)

The influence of these super-dense, super-powerful collapsed stars is also apparent at many sites that display astronomical photographs. One Hubble Space Telescope image on the Cambridge Astronomy site shows the dust disc around a huge black hole in the centre of our galaxy, calculated at being 1.2 billion times the mass of our sun. (November 00)

Another image reveals a hole that's not only sucking in anything that falls into its gravity well, but forever blowing "bubbles" of what are thought to be sub-atomic particles. There are a few more not-that-great compressed hubble images on this site. (November 00)

There's a black hole known as Old Faithful like the Yellowstone Park geyser - because every half-hour it spurts out a 100 trillion ton jet of stellar matter. (November 00)

Black holes also feature as regular pin-ups in the Astronomy picture of the day which has a different space snapshot every day. (November 00)

Such are the fascinating properties of black holes that several sites have amazing animated fantasy movies of what it might be like to fall into one. (November 00) DOH - a broken link!!

According to a New Scientist article, this fantasy could become reality: particle accelerators are now so powerful there are fears they could accidentally create a black hole that would swallow the Earth and everything on it. Which would be bad. (November 00) but you can go to the New Scientist site anyway - its good. (June 2001)

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Black Hole information links etc. originally lifted shamelessly from the Radio Times 25/11/00

Page creation: 2000 November. Update: 2007 February 10 (but links not checked)