A shell built around a star to collect as much energy as possible, originally proposed by Freeman Dyson (although he admits to have borrowed the concept from Olaf Stapledon's novel Star Maker (1937)). In the original proposal the shell consists of many independent solar collectors and habitats in separate orbits (also known as a Type I Dyson Sphere), but later people have discussed rigid shells consisting of only one piece (called a Type II Dyson Sphere). The latter construction is unfortunately both unstable (since it will experience no net attraction of the star), requires super-strong materials and have no internal gravity. The Dyson Sphere is a classic example of megascale engineering and common in Science Fiction. See also The Dyson Sphere FAQ.
A Dyson Sphere is an enormous, theoretical structure proposed in 1959 by physicist Freeman Dyson (1925- ). This hollow sphere would be built surrounding a planet and its sun in order to collect all of the sun's emitted energy. The sphere would be assembled from many separate planetoids and planetary bits and pieces, put into orbit around the star. The shell material would come from disassembled planets and existing planetoids. Dyson calculated that in our solar system, there is enough matter to create a shell at least three meters thick around the Earth and Sun. Zoom Astronomy Astronomy Dictionary Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject. If the astronomy term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us. Enchanted Learning® Over 20,000 Web Pages. Sample Pages for Prospective Subscribers
A Dyson sphere (or shell as it appeared in the original paper) is a hypothetical megastructure that was originally described by Freeman Dyson as a system of orbiting solar power satellites meant to completely encompass a star and capture its entire energy output. Dyson speculated that such structures would be the logical consequence of the long-term survival of technological civilizations, and proposed that searching for evidence of the existence of such structures might lead to the detection of advanced intelligent extraterrestrial life.