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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old August 20 2008, 03:48 PM   #1
backstept
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What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

from the inside at ground level?

Andy Probert's sketch in the thread in Trek Art got me thinking what it would actually look like . . .

I would think that in the daytime (assuming the central star had a ring of shields to create a day/night cycle) the view would be similar to daytime here on earth, but would the diameter of the sphere be so great that there would be no noticeable curvature? or would the distant mountains seem to fade into the sky?

at night one would assume that you'd be able to faintly see the parts of the sphere that are in the daytime area on the other side . . . what would that look like?


I know in 'Relics' we saw the land surrounding the opening the Enterprise was pulled in through, and we saw the star at the center . . . I'm just curious how it would look from a scientifically accurate interpretation . . .
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Old August 20 2008, 04:52 PM   #2
R˙cher
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

I've thought about this a lot because the idea of a sphere fascinates me so.

The dyson sphere would be so big (the size of earth's orbit around the sun - 1 AU in diameter) that if you were in a city or on a field within the sphere, you wouldn't be able to tell that the ground is convex, not concave. There would however always be a slight haze over the horizon.
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Old August 20 2008, 05:33 PM   #3
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

backstept wrote: View Post
Andy Probert's sketch in the thread in Trek Art
Where? Where?? WHERE?!?

Anyway, that's an interesting question. If you've ever seen one of our neighbouring planets brightly lit in the nightsky - one has to wonder how bright the sky would generally be, if there was an Earth-like surface with an Albedo (=amount of light that is diffusely reflected) of about 35% in every direction... very bright, I'd assume.

The only way for such a structure (which, by the way, is not exactly what was originally postulated by Dyson) to really work would probably be by covering a large percentage of the inner surface, and possible some solar orbits, with high-efficiency solar collectors that "move" excess energy out of the system, and at the same time bring the average albedo down to a more manageable level.
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Old August 20 2008, 06:17 PM   #4
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

Cid Highwind wrote: View Post
backstept wrote: View Post
Andy Probert's sketch in the thread in Trek Art
Where? Where?? WHERE?!?
http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?...2&postcount=81
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Old August 20 2008, 07:48 PM   #5
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

Yes, Dyson's original idea involved, IIRC, a series of habitable platforms surrounding the central star, not a solid sphere.
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Old August 20 2008, 08:13 PM   #6
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

in the book "Dyson Sphere" Picard and crew return to the sphere, and discover several sentient races inside the sphere

can you imagine how many civilizations could evolve without ever knowing there are others within the same structure? what would their cosmologies be like? to them the world really would be flat, not to mention endless
if I remember the surface area would be equivalent to 250,000,000 earths . . . there could be trillions or even quadrillions (is that even a word? ) of people living there very comfortably . . .
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Old August 20 2008, 08:56 PM   #7
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

brian wrote: View Post
Cid Highwind wrote: View Post
backstept wrote: View Post
Andy Probert's sketch in the thread in Trek Art
Where? Where?? WHERE?!?
http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?...2&postcount=81
I'm thinking that's gonna make a hell of a sonic-boom/shockwave. Need to have some bewildered natives standing in the foreground.
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Old August 20 2008, 11:05 PM   #8
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

backstept wrote: View Post
from the inside at ground level?

Andy Probert's sketch in the thread in Trek Art got me thinking what it would actually look like . . .

I would think that in the daytime (assuming the central star had a ring of shields to create a day/night cycle) the view would be similar to daytime here on earth, but would the diameter of the sphere be so great that there would be no noticeable curvature? or would the distant mountains seem to fade into the sky?

at night one would assume that you'd be able to faintly see the parts of the sphere that are in the daytime area on the other side . . . what would that look like?


I know in 'Relics' we saw the land surrounding the opening the Enterprise was pulled in through, and we saw the star at the center . . . I'm just curious how it would look from a scientifically accurate interpretation . . .
When would it be night-time? If constructed as a solid shell... You'd never be able to experience 'night'.

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Old August 20 2008, 11:54 PM   #9
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

Create night with the correct size object(s) orbiting closer to the sun.
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Old August 21 2008, 12:11 AM   #10
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

I would think that the atmospheric haze would obliterate any detail beyond a few hundred miles looking flatly horizontal. But as you tilted your gaze UP you'd see hints of the sphere interior as you'd be looking through less and less atmosphere. But since the interior of the sphere would seem very flat to you, the nearest visible details visible above the atmopshere would be literally hundreds of thousands or millions of miles away, and seen NEARLY edge on, so I don't think you'd be able to see much of anything. I mean, look at the moon, 240,000 miles away and seen flat on and there's nothing to see but light and dark.
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Old August 21 2008, 12:14 AM   #11
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

Ronald Held wrote: View Post
Create night with the correct size object(s) orbiting closer to the sun.


Why? The sun would be a limitless supply of energy. Crops growing non-stop, energy flowing through photovoltaic cells powering homes and industry. Just have really, REALLY good blinds in your home or maybe their people got used to sleeping in the light of perpetual noon.

That's the whole principle of the sphere; to harness ALL the power of the sun.

Who thick do you suppose the shell would have to be? Suppose there would be layers of the shell like a neutronium outer layer and a few dozen miles of silt, dirt and clay?

What about oceans and lakes? How deep would they be? How long until the water recycles from the other side of the sphere? Something like 1,000 years or so?

Imagine the inside surface of one of them things - the amount of land area 7 billion people would inhabit would be a TINY speck on the inside surface and would take us many thousands of years to travel (by foot) to the other side.

Last edited by R˙cher; August 21 2008 at 12:21 AM.
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Old August 21 2008, 01:35 AM   #12
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

R˙cher wrote: View Post
Ronald Held wrote: View Post
Create night with the correct size object(s) orbiting closer to the sun.
Why? The sun would be a limitless supply of energy. Crops growing non-stop, energy flowing through photovoltaic cells powering homes and industry. Just have really, REALLY good blinds in your home or maybe their people got used to sleeping in the light of perpetual noon.
That wouldn't work for the vast majority of lifeforms we know about. Most plants and animals have evolved over millions of years to require both light and dark to survive. As for "getting used to it" -- I suppose it's possible, but it isn't healthy.
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Old August 21 2008, 03:49 AM   #13
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

the sun wouldn't move across the sky . . . imagine continuous noon!
how would the natives measure the passage of time?
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Old August 21 2008, 05:19 AM   #14
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

Why is everyone so transfixed on the idea of "night" in a Dyson's sphere?

As someone pointed out, an ever-present sun would provide limitless supplies of energy. Then someone argued that system "wouldn't work for the vast majority of lifeforms we know about." Well, the big problem with that counter argument is the Dyson's sphere, at least in TNG, is something entirely unique in the history of known space exploration. By definition, the sphere and any life within it are things we don't know about.* If a sphere of that magnitude would take thousands (if not more) of years to construct, it's not inconceivable then that lifeforms would be able to get used to (evolve/adapt) to always present light.

Another poster asked how natives would measure time. Why would you even need day or night to measure time? People living near the poles still use the 24 hour clock despite having long days and short nights in the summer, or short days and long nights in the winter. Crews on starships still measure time even when they're on no planet rotating around a sun. I'm sure people intelligent enough to design and build a Dyson's sphere would be more than capable of coming up with a way of measuring time in it.

(* This is the big flaw that I find with Star Trek. Alien world and cultures are sometimes all too "human" and we come to think of a lot of things in the Trek universe with human assumptions.)

On a related thought, Isaac Asimov's story Nightfall imagined a world that revolved in a solar system of several suns, so that there was always sunlight from some star anywhere on the planet at any given time. But then, when night did fall once every few thousand years all hell broke loose and their concept of an orderly universe went with it. This mind you, was only after a thousand years or so of always having sunlight.

So for life living on a planet that rotates, the concept of night and day may seem natural. But then again, wouldn't endless daylight seem natural to the inhabitants of the interior of a Dyson's sphere -- especially after having lived there for millions of years?

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Old August 21 2008, 07:00 AM   #15
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Re: What would a dyson sphere look like . . .

I'd go with the arrangement familiar from Niven's Ringworld: have two concentric spheres. The outer one would be this Trek construct which provides habitable area at about 1 AU radius. The inner one would be a more accurate Dysonian construct where giant solar energy collectors orbit the central star, eclipsing it at regular intervals to create swaths of night on the surface of the outer shell.

Suitable arrangement of the solar collectors would also result in seasons if needed. Since the bulk of the effort seems to go to supporting an Earth-like environment, one would assume that the imitation would be as perfect as possible. If that weren't the goal, why are the builders bothering at all with the Earthly interior? The far more logical construct for generic life support purposes would be to have the habitats on the outside, where they experience natural gravitic pull without needing constant artificial gravity, and where they don't consume valuable solar collection acreage. But the builders of this thing obviously didn't aim at generic life support...

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