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Q&A: Black Holes

Q:
If a black hole could 'eat' so many stars but still conserve their energy, how is it that the material the black hole is made from could withstand such an enormous energy?

A:
When someone says that a black hole conserves energy they just mean that the amount of energy (or matter) that falls into a black hole is the same amount that the black hole grows. So if a 1 pound shoe falls into a black hole, the black hole gets 1 pound more massive.

We don't know what happens to matter once it falls into a black hole, but we do know that its energy is still there and is not lost. For a description of how black holes form and grow, see our field guide on black holes:
http://chandra.harvard.edu/xray_sources/blackholes.html

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