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Suppose there was a giant star at the centre of a system. It had managed to catch several smaller stars in its orbit which had in turn also trapped planets and their moons in their orbits. Would this solar system^2 work on a similar premise to the smaller solar systems or would they have different mechanics to maintain the system? In addition, how would the goldilocks zone work for creating life on planets in this system?

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    $\begingroup$ Congratulations, you've just described a galaxy. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jul 30 '16 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ And I thought I was being clever :/ $\endgroup$ – Universalerror Jul 30 '16 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ But in the center of a galaxy, you have a black hole, which is not the same thing as a star. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Jul 30 '16 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ Globular cluster - BH is just mass, and it is not needed. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Jul 31 '16 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ Here is one way to do it: planetplanet.net/2016/04/13/…. $\endgroup$ – Sean Raymond Sep 1 '16 at 10:27
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Such a system already exists everywhere in the universe.

All galaxies have supermassive blackholes (monstrous stars, basically) in their centers and hundreds of millions of solar systems are revolving around such solar systems.

In the case of stars in the normal sense, such a system is very unlikely due to several factors.

1- The central star would have to be orders of magnitude heavier than the surrounding stars, in order to keep them all orbiting around itself. While binary and trinary star system can (and do) exist with normal-massed stars, if a star has to serve as a host for extremely long distance complex system of solar systems, it would have to be orders of magnitude heavier than the other stars. It is highly unlikely you would find a free-floating black-hole of that size in any galaxy.

2- The gravitational interaction of this super-unstable system with neighboring massive stars (blue hypergiants) would send the whole system reeling into crash in just a few hundred million years. First the bordering stars would collapse inwards (or be flung out) and then the inner ones would crash into the black-hole.

3- Considering that the parent star in this system would be a massive blackhole (at least 20-25 solar masses), it is highly unlikely that it would have any constant beam of emissions (unless it actively feeds on accreted material). So the habitable zone around the stars in this system would simply be a function of the stars themselves, and not any emissions by the parent star at the center of the system.

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