So, I was watching this show on Netflix about supermassive black holes. I didn't realize that astronomers were surprised to find these black holes at the center of galaxies, because I cannot imagine how models of the centers of galaxies worked without these black holes. In my head, when I imagine the center of a galaxy without a black hole, I picture the stars at the center pulling on each other in a way that would pull their fellow stars rather chaotically out of their nice elliptical/circular orbits. And, when I start to think back to the origins of the galaxy, I can't see this chaotic nuclei spawning these relatively long, stable orbits on the outer edges. So, like the title says, how did these models work? How do multiple stars form stable orbits around nothing, despite each other pulling from their orbits? Another way to ask this would be, how could several stars form stable orbits around nothing?"
Now, I am sure someone will ask, "Who said they formed their orbits around 'nothing?'" To which my reply is the scientist who was on the "Nuker Team" that discovered the supermassive black hole at the center of the Andromeda Galaxy. Though, to be fair, she did not say they believed there was "nothing" at the center of galaxies before the black holes were found; she said they believed only dust and gas was at the center. I reasoned that if the gravity of the dust and gas was not strong enough to pull itself into planet/star/etc., then it certainly was not exerting enough gravity to keep the inner stars of a galaxy in place; thus, my "nothing." So, if they were wrong and astronomers did NOT believe this, leave a comment saying what they did believe.