Yes, you read that title right. A "hyperadvanced" civilization, an alien race with technology so advanced that we humans can currently dismiss it as alien-space-bat-magic.

At the center of this artificial solar system is a binary of "Pistol Stars". A Pistol Star is a body 420 times as wide, 27.5 times as massive and over three million times as bright as our sun. So to have a binary of such stars would result in a habitable zone measured not in astronomical units, but in light-years! The civilization had the technological means to artificially prolong the Pistol Stars' lifespans, from removing all of the stars' heavy elements to replacing them with huge quantities of stable antimatter, something that we humans have yet to find.

Orbiting this binary within its vast habitable zone are nine quaternaries of one same type--a binary of white dwarves, each one as wide as Earth yet 120% as massive as the sun, being orbited by, as another testament to the hyperadvanced technology, a binary of blue dwarves, each one one-quarter as massive and only 1/350 as bright as the sun (that's still a lot brighter than a full moon!) Each of the binaries is itself orbited by Earth-like planets.

Would putting so much stars within the habitable zone of the Pistol Star binary be feasible, even with hyperadvanced technology?

  • $\begingroup$ You can't; the inner edge of the habitable zone of this system is ~1651 AU, and the outer edge would be ~2379 AU. A habitable zone 728 AU deep is pretty big, but still only a hundredth of a lightyear deep. (For context, a deleted comment asked how a habitable zone could be lightyears deep - it cannot.) $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    May 6, 2021 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen - the OP is referencing a specific star, the Pistol Star. The values they give are approximately correct. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    May 6, 2021 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ @jdunlop Interesting I wonder how so small but so bright. I guess different stages. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    May 6, 2021 at 3:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen Part of the difference is temperature - the luminosity of a star scales as $R^2T^4$, and the Pistol Star is roughly 4 times as hot as Betelgeuse, so that can account for a factor of 256; it's also only a bit over half-ish the radius, so that means it should be roughly 256/(2^2) = 64 times as luminous. And we do see that Betelgeuse is about 100,000 solar luminosities, while the Pistol Star is about 3 million solar luminosities - 30 times as luminous. So the strong temperature dependence makes up for most of the difference. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    May 6, 2021 at 3:29
  • $\begingroup$ For a blue star (assuming that "Pistol Stars" are blue hypergiants) habitable zone calculation becomes more tricky, because its light is coming mostly in UV range, and its stellar wind is much stronger that Sun's (even at 1000 AU range), which can be challenging to life as we know it. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    May 6, 2021 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


Recursive star systems like this are tricky

I did an analysis in this question about habitable zones within habitable zones and how they interact - the habitable zone concept breaks down from a nice series of circles into something much more complex. It basically gets replaced with a 4d function "how habitable is this spot at this time", and you need to find stable orbits travelling on the curves of that function.

What is the habitable zone for a binary orbiting a binary? enter image description here
Note the purple orbit is both too hot and too cold. In this cases theres also no orbits about the child binary that are habitable either. There are multiple habitable orbits in this system - see the link above.

Basically your orbits for the entire thing need to be at least harmonics of each other, and in some cases equal in periods. A highly unlikely scenario unless the entire solar system is built from scratch.

So I'm going to say yes it is possible from a heat and orbital dynamics analysis to have a system like you propose. The precision required is extreme, there will be station keeping requirements on everything, but your society of god analogs should be able to manage it.

  • $\begingroup$ I mean, if station-keeping is required/possible, virtually any orbital arrangement is possible. But I really like the habitability image. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    May 6, 2021 at 5:55

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