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Daniel Holz is an astrophysicist. He works at the University of Chicago, in Illinois. He studies black holes. Holz spoke with TFK Kid Reporter Miguel Madero.

TFK: What is a black hole?

HOLZ: A black hole is an area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape it. Not even light. Say you’re near the surface of a black hole. Even if you went as fast as light, you wouldn’t be able to get away.

TFK: Are there any black holes close to Earth?

HOLZ: No. We think there are lots of black holes in our Milky Way galaxy. But the nearest are hundreds of light-years away. That’s far. One light-year is 
6 trillion miles.

TFK: How do black holes form?

HOLZ: We think they are formed by the death of stars. Stars burn and glow. When they run out of fuel, they collapse. Some form black holes.

TFK: What is one neat thing you have learned about black holes?

HOLZ: There are black holes of all sizes. Recently, we found one that was 85 times the mass of the sun. That’s like taking 85 of our suns and crunching them down into one black hole. That’s big!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.