White Dwarf Dyson Sphere

In 1959, physicist and astronomer, Freeman Dyson, published a paper called, “Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation”. The paper described a way to maximize utilization of energy from a star by surrounding it with a network of solar energy collectors arranged in a spherical configuration.

In popular fiction, this idea has often been described as a solid sphere, but from an engineering perspective, it would be much easier to design this as a large group or “swarm” of objects that orbit the star independently from each other, but with a density approaching the point of being able to absorb most of the energy radiating from the star. Many different orbital distances and trajectories could be used.

The asteroid belt approximates such a swarm in our imagination, although in reality, it is far too thin for this purpose and the orbits are primarily centered on the plane of the ecliptic. Imagine many such belts of objects, each with a different angle of inclination from the ecliptic plane and differing orbital distances, and you begin to come close to describing a Dyson “swarm”.

As such a swarm began to approach the density required to absorb most of the energy from a star, it should also begin to radiate energy itself, making it detectable to astronomy. The article below offers suggestions for building a Dyson sphere/swarm around a smaller white dwarf sized star.

Physicists Describe New Class of Dyson Sphere – [technologyreview.com]

Today, Ibrahim Semiz and Salim Ogur at Bogazici University in Turkey, define an entirely new class of Dyson sphere. Instead of thinking about a sphere around a Sun-like star, Semiz and Ogur consider a sphere built around a white dwarf.

They say that such a sphere would avoid some of the most severe problems and that there are good arguments to think that they might be more common than the ones Dyson originally imagined.

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