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I still don't quite understand what the stars in galaxies without SBHs revolve around. I mean, the stars must orbit something. If the Sun suddenly disappeared, the planets wouldn't just continue in their orbits as there's nothing to orbit. E.g. M33 is thought to not have an SBH in its center. If the barycenter is in the very center of the galaxy wouldn't that require that all stars revolving around it have the same mass relative to their distance to each other, forming a gargantuan multiple-star-system? And how would such a system be stable over the course of thousands of years? Perhaps we are wrong and there is an SBH or another massive star at the center of each galaxy?

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  • $\begingroup$ Globular star clusters don't have a massive central object but their stars orbit each other all the same. $\endgroup$ May 22 at 6:24
  • $\begingroup$ @KristofferSjöö The globular clusters I explored have an intermediate black hole in their center, with a mass inbetween that of a stellar and a supermassive black hole. If any clusters don't have them, my question applies to globular clusters too. How can such systems be stable throughout the millenia? $\endgroup$
    – Giovanni
    May 22 at 6:54
  • $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Orbiting supermassive black hole or galactic center of mass? (the accepted answer there is wrong) or astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/28012/…. The stars orbit in the mass of the dark matter, The blackhole has neglible effect, except for stars very near the core. Also astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/24064/… $\endgroup$
    – James K
    May 22 at 7:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JamesK So it's a bit similar to how galaxies revolve around the Great Attractor. $\endgroup$
    – Giovanni
    May 22 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ The matter and dark matter in a galaxy are self gravitating. The stars orbit in this gravity field generated by the matter and dark matter. The black hole is only a very very small part of this. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    May 22 at 8:10