Dyson spheres are theoretical megastructures that advanced civilizations can use to extract as much energy as possible from a star. Researchers now ask: If you wanted to create something like this around a black hole, would you get a lot of energy? The answer is a resounding yes. Black holes, in their star-shaped or supermassive versions, do not allow anything to escape-not even light. However, they cause some extreme conditions in the universe, and extremely powerful processes take place around the black hole.
For the paper published in the monthly notice of the Royal Astronomical Society, these procedures will support the construction of a Dyson sphere. The research team, led by astronomer Tiger Yu-Young Xiao of Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University, observed possible emissions from the black hole, its corona, and relative jets emitted by the black hole.
All of these events are extremely powerful. If an advanced civilization were to be able to use them, there would certainly be no need to worry for a while about its powerful need. The study focuses on the second type of civilization on the Kardashev scale that could use about a trillion times the amount of energy that mankind used in 2020. With this in mind, a Dyson sphere around a black hole is the most effective solution. “Typically, accretion disks can deliver 10,000 times more energy than you would get from a star like the Sun,” Hsiao told IFLScience.
“So instead of hunting 10,000 stars like our Sun, we can just find a black hole and create a Dyson sphere around it and it will be much more efficient.” Hsiao’s approach focuses on energy production and provides some insights into how efficient a system needs to be to get out in large quantities. By their very nature, black holes are so depressing that our civilization will last for billions of years, even occupying a fraction of their production.
The paper does not discuss the possibility of such a structure. A solid Dyson sphere is seen as impossible – but a swarm of Dyson, gathering a large amount of satellite energy, seems much more realistic. However, to increase efficiency, they should be closer to the black hole and be able to withstand much higher temperatures than the technology we can currently use. We can’t do that, but maybe there are foreign civilizations out there that could. And the good news is that if such a structure exists in the Milky Way, we can detect it – although much more work is needed to make sure it was an artificial source.