Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dyson Sphere


As some of you know I'm working on a scifi novel called NO REST, hence my choice of subject matter for the A-Z blogfest. Among the many things I've learned about is the Kardashev scale which measures a civilization's technological advancement.

Type I is pretty much where we are and where we'll probably be for a very long time. Guillermo A. Lemarchand stated this as "A level near contemporary terrestrial civilization with an energy capability equivalent to the solar insolation on earth, between 1016 and 10 17Watts."

A Type II civ is able to harness the energy radiated by its own star, for example by building a Dyson sphere (I know, you wondering when I was going to get to the title of my post, wern't you?), a hypothetical megastructure originally described by Freeman Dyson.* Such a "sphere" would be a system of orbiting solar-power satallites meant to completely encompass a star and capture most or all of its energy output. 

As for a Type III, a civ of this type would be have access to the power comparable to the luminosity of the entire Milky Way galaxy, about 4 x 1037Watts. Yikes.



* Freeman Dyson is a British-born American, theoretical physicist, and mathematician, who is famous for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy, and nuclear engineering.



33 comments:

  1. And it looks remarkably pretty too ;)

    I can see why an orbital system of satellites designed to harness the energy
    of star would be useful whether it was to use the power, or hide it's presence from others. It might be useful to make sure future-Earth didn't end in a blaze of anything but glory.

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    Replies
    1. It is pretty, isn't it? Maybe someday...

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  2. I can tell a lot of research went into these posts. I enjoy learning about everything sci-fi.

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    1. I did spend a lot of time looking stuff up, but it was worth it both for the challenge and my book. Plus it was pretty interesting!

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  3. I love the title of your novel!

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  4. wow---this is way above my head--but i am very interested!!!

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    1. heheh, sometimes it's above my head, too :)

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  5. Some days you're way over my head too, but I am leaning something.

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    1. I've learned quite a bit as well.

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  6. Imagine the energy bills on those :PPPP

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    1. I think the expensive part would be building the sphere.

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  7. Really interesting! I know zilch about scifi but am eager to learn.

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    1. I've learned more than I ever imagined.

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  8. Great post. I love learning about sci-fi, I've been a fan for a long time but there's still a lot to learn. I'm looking forward to the rest of your challenge posts.

    A new follower from the A-Z Challenge!

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    1. It's such a fascinating subject.

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  9. Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres, thanks for such an interesting post.

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  10. A Dyson Sphere was famously featured in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where Scotty returns ("Relics"). It was my first exposure to the concept.

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  11. I look forward to your posts- always something so interesting. Like some above, this is a bit beyond my comprehension but very intriguing! :)

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  12. Interesting how physics often looks like art.

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  13. Intriguing. I've heard the term Dyson Sphere before, but I never remembered to look it up when I was near a computer or encyclopedia, so thanks for this.

    I have a feeling I'm going to learn a lot from following your A to Z posts...

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  14. i was lost at dyson
    lol i kid (sort of)
    ive always been awful with science!

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  15. This is going to be one of those fun, learning blogs! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Hmmm sounds familiar. I've been reading up on this stuff too. :)

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