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Dyson balls around black holes could reveal alien civilizations

Dyson balls around black holes could reveal alien civilizations

Artist’s impression of the Dyson chassis. (Kokada/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Are we alone in the universe? Are we the only technologically advanced species? These eternal questions have never left the minds of scientists, and over time we have provided some possible answers but nothing definitive.

In a recent study published in the journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical SocietyNow, a group of scientists asked these questions again, adding more questions they tried to answer: If aliens were out there, what would their technology be? How do we discover it?

To do this, they started from the assumption that our virtual extraterrestrial society would use A type of massive energy harvester called a Dyson ball, which draws energy from a black hole.

“In this study, we consider that the energy source of an advanced Type II or Type III civilization needs an energy source more powerful than its own sun.” The researchers write in their article.

The accretion disk, aura, and relativistic jets could serve as potential centers of power for a Type II civilization. Our results indicate that for a stellar-mass black hole, even at low Eddington ratio, the accretion disk can provide a luminosity hundreds of times greater than that of a main-sequence star.”They did it in detail.

The image shows the process of nuclear feeding of a black hole in the galaxy NGC 1566, and how filaments of dust, which surround the active nucleus, become trapped and orbit the black hole until it is swallowed up.
The image shows the process of nuclear feeding of a black hole in the galaxy NGC 1566, and how filaments of dust, which surround the active nucleus, become trapped and orbit the black hole until it is swallowed up.

The concept of a Dyson ball was popularized by theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson in the 1960s as a solution to the problem of energy consumption that is beyond the capabilities of civilization on planet Earth. The sphere itself is built around the star of the planetary system, a giant structure that collects energy from the star at its source.

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The paper suggested that infrared emissions of thermal energy could leak out as Dyson’s structure captures and transforms stellar energy, potentially revealing the existence of these hypothetical structures. This infrared signature, if we could detect it, would allow us to locate alien civilizations.

Led by astronomer Tiger Yu-Yang Hsiao of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, a team of researchers has taken the concept one step further. What if a Dyson ball (or a Dyson ring or a Dyson swarm) were arranged around a black hole? Will you succeed? And if so, what can we discover from here on Earth?

The only thing known about black holes is their strong gravitational field that absorbs anything that gets close enough and doesn’t let it come out again (which we can detect).

So you may be wondering how you can harvest something from this beast. It turns out that there are a number of processes in the harsh environment around the black hole from which energy can be harvested.

In their article, the team takes into account several of these processes: andThe accretion disk of matter revolves around a black hole, superheated by friction of millions of degrees or the theoretical black body radiation emitted by black holes proposed by Stephen Hawking.

Other potentially related phenomena that could contribute to globular accretion include the magnetized plasma halo between the inner edge of the accretion disk and the event horizon, and jets ejected at relative velocities from the poles of active black holes.

Based on models of black holes that record the mass of the Sun as 5, 20 and 4 million times the mass of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, Hsiao and colleagues were able to do just that. Determine that a field of satellite can effectively harvest energy from some of these processes.

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“The greatest luminosity can be obtained from an accretion disk, up to 100,000 times the luminosity of the Sun, enough to sustain a Type II civilization,” The researchers write.

“Furthermore, if the Dyson ball were collecting not only electromagnetic radiation but also other types of energy (such as kinetic energy) from the jets, the total energy collected would be about five times greater,” he added.

The researchers found that such structures can be detected at multiple wavelengths, with hotter Dyson spheres more visible in the ultraviolet range and cooler Dyson spheres visible in the infrared, just as Dyson himself predicted.

However, since active black holes already emit a lot of radiation in these two wavelength ranges, Dyson overloads might be easier said than done.

The team suggests that making other measurements, such as changes in light when the black hole is completely affected by the ball’s gravity, could help reveal where these structures are hidden. And with this, perhaps, he made discoveries as amazing as the existence of other civilizations, answering once and for all all the eternal questions about life in the universe.

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