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"Imagine the energy crisis of a really advanced planetary civilization. They've used up all their fuels, they depend on solar power. An enormous amount of energy is generated by the local star, but most of the star's light doesn't fall on their planet. So perhaps, they would build a shell, to surround their star, and harvest every photon of sunlight. Such beings, such civilizations, would bear little resemblance to anything we know."
The Best Way to Find Aliens: Look for Their Solar Power Plants
That's because if Dyson Spheres exist, they promise to give off a very particular kind of heat signature, a signature that we should be able to see through our infrared telescopes. The solar energy collected by a Dyson Sphere would heat it, the same way that your computer heats up when it uses electricity. That heat would radiate off the sphere as infrared light rather than visible light. "A Dyson Sphere would appear very bright in the mid-infrared," Wright explained to me. "Just like your body, which is invisible in the dark, but shines brightly in mid-infrared goggles."
Wright's group will have access to data that Fermilab's researchers could only dream of. They'll be scanning three different infrared sky surveys, including NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) (pictured up top) which is hundreds of times more sensitive than IRAS. They'll be looking for Dyson Spheres in our galaxy, but also for whole galaxies with excess waste heat -- galaxies that may contain a large number of stars enshrouded in technological megastructures.
From linked article.
So how do Wright and his team aim to find a Dyson Sphere? Though the word "sphere" summons to mind a solid structure, Wright says his team won't be looking for solid shells. "Even though there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere, such a structure would not be mechanically feasible," Wright told me. "It would probably have to be more like a swarm of collectors."
I think the scientific search for Dyson sphere signatures in our Galaxy is an exiting prospect and shows that scientists do have the capability to think outside the box
Originally posted by Kandinsky
Success for us would be a world-changing event. It’d be a joyous occasion to actually know that LIFE is out there and the Universe isn’t as quiet as we thought. However, spare a thought for what existence within a Dyson environment could be like. Psychologically, you’d live within a universe turned inwards and you’d be poking at the embers of a dying fire as the cold gets ever nearer. As much as we'll celebrate such an awesome discovery, it'd be like looking at our own inevitable death and that of our Sun.
Originally posted by Kandinsky
reply to post by wmd_2008
I'd say yes and no to your comments.
Yes it seems an irrational waste of energy to hang around a dying star when the technology, we'd expect, would be able to move to younger star-systems.
Then I'd also say no because I applaud such an ambitious project. It's the 'Big Search.' The one with the potential to shift our concepts of Life, the Universe and our place in it...the search for other lives.
Something like a Dyson Swarm might come into existence for reasons other than confinement to a single star-system; longevity of a home-world or perhaps a hub of broadening horizons? Who knows?
Making the effort to look *could* expose something else. I'm all for the attempt as it's better than never trying.