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A Black Hole is a collapsed star. Black Hole systems are rare, but can pose significant dangers (or at least obstacles) to spaceship traffic, because the intense gravity from the black hole pulls every object (ship, missile, etc.) into itself. Ships with sufficient speed will travel more slowly within the system, and other ships will be lost.
A black hole is an incredibly dense remnant of a star that has collapsed into a singularity under its own gravity upon running out of fuel. Black holes have extremely strong gravitational fields. Its tidal forces render Black Hole systems empty of all but jump points, which can be surveyed like any other system. For the purpose of gravitational surveys, a black hole has stellar mass equal to its class, so higher class black hole systems will be harder to survey.
The black hole pull is offset by the ship's own speed, so a ship with sufficient maximum speed could travel anywhere in the system, albeit at reduced speed. It will consume more fuel than it ordinarily would at that speed, because the ships are still traveling at full power. If the pull of the black hole is greater than the ship's speed, then the ship's speed becomes negative and it is slowly pulled into the singularity's event horizon, which will result in its destruction. NPRs and civilians are aware of discovered black hole systems and will avoid them unless they have a sufficient speed advantage over the pull of the black hole.
Each black hole is rated from Class I to Class X. The pull of the black hole is equal to 1000 km/s multiplied by the class, so a class IV black hole has a pull of 4000 km/s. If a fleet has a speed greater than the pull of the black hole, then its speed is reduced by that pull, but it can otherwise function normally. A scout ship capable of 4500 km/s moving through a system with a class III black hole would move at 1500 km/s instead of its normal speed.
If a fleet has a speed less than the black hole, then any orders are ignored (although not cancelled) and it is pulled straight toward the black hole at a speed equal to the black hole pull minus fleet speed. A fleet with a speed of 3200 km/s in a system with a class VI black hole would be pulled toward the black hole at 2800 km/s. On the system map, this pull speed is shown as a negative, so the aforementioned fleet would be shown as traveling at -2800 km/s.
When a fleet enters a black hole, all the ships in the fleet are instantly destroyed and leave no wreckage or life pods.
- Black Holes were first introduced in Version 5.50