Statite Dynamic Shell, aka, Stapleton Dyson Shell

The Standard Story

The continued increase of the human population, expanding into the solar system and later to other star systems, is a common assumption in 20th century science fiction. People move into orbiting space habitats at the L4 and L5, terraform Mars, etc. When planetary systems are exhausted, the expansion continues into more space habitats orbiting the sun, perhaps manufactured from the asteroids, Mercury, and Venus. Some propose dismantling the Earth to build more habitats, eventually capturing most of the energy from the Sun.

Nikolai Kardashev characterized future supercivilizations by the energy they capture and use.

So, a supercivilization capturing all the power emitted by the Sun with a shell of habitats would be a Type II supercivilization.

Olaf Stapleton wrote about type II and type III supercivilizations in his 1937 science fantasy novel Starmaker. Freeman Dyson wrote about how such supercivilizations might appear as highly luminous, compact infrared sources in 1960, Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation.