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From: mary whalen <marewhalen@yahoo.com>
Subject: (urth) Re:  Black hole vs. wormhole
Date: Sat, 4 Jul 1998 12:51:05 

This is Sean Whalen (prion).

Jason, I've pretty much exhausted my knowledge about black holes, too,
so don't worry.

To explain that (admittedly complex) sentence, what I meant was that
if a small black hole has to absorb a significantly larger amount of
mass all at once, the mass far away from the black hole will be
accelerated so much that it squashes against the mass closer to the
black hole, and some of this mass will fuse, releasing energy and
causing an explosion which lets some of the outer mass accelerate in
the opposite direction enough to escape the black hole's gravity.  A
black hole can absorb an infinite amount of mass, but difficulties
like this can arise if it tries to absorb all of it at once.

Atomic-size (and much smaller) black holes can exist naturally.  In
fact, there is a theory that they form all the time all throughout
space.  They would quickly absorb into themselves all matter if it
weren't for the fact that there is a quantum mechanical process called
Hawking Radiation (named after Stephen Hawking) that takes advantage
of the fact that quantum uncertainty dictates that the mass of the
black hole is not 100% certain to be in the black hole.  This slight
chance causes some particles and antiparticles to form outside of the
black hole that are made up of the material of the black hole itself. 
These are usually drawn back into the black hole and cause no change. 
However, these naturally forming sub-atomic black holes only need to
have this chance of losing matter happen once, because the loss takes
all the mass of the hole quickly so that the particles that would be
reabsorbed have nowhere to be drawn back to.  There is a lot more
about this phenomenon, but it really doesn't matter here.

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