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Note: There is a related question about illuminating such a sphere that inspired this question. I'm going much farther, though, this is not a dupe.

The Dyson sphere will be the central mass of the system, stars will orbit it. (Ignore the unobtainium needed to build the sphere.)

Now, trying to get an even energy level across the whole sphere is going to be quite problematic so I'm envisioning something different. The areas that get the most sunlight will be uninhabitable due to heat, likewise the areas that get the least will be uninhabitable due to cold but there will be Goldilocks zones in between that are inhabited but mostly isolated from each other. I'm trying to make these comprise as much as possible of the surface and be as Earthlike as feasible.

Assume the builders can control the stars well enough that long term stability is not a problem but they must be in orbit.

Also, what will the truly massive nature of the world do to the weather? There will be seas but no world-spanning oceans like on Earth. Also, the rotation rate will be too slow to matter for weather purposes. (Rotation will move the habitable zones around the planet, it must be very slow.)

Finally, I think the mass of air will cause the suns to fade in/fade out rather than coming above/going below the horizon. I'm stumped on figuring this out, though.

As for the option of weather control--no. The builders are long gone, only their most major works (with the best self-repair) remain. Besides, I want the landscape chopped up.

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I don't know much about the science of supermassive systems, but you might be able to sidestep the habitability problem almost entirely. Energy-collecting satellites could be put into orbit near the stars, positioned in such a way as to collect much of the light that would otherwise go to potentially over-illuminated areas. That power could then be sent to the Dyson sphere to power artificial lighting for the under-illuminated areas, thus making the entire Dyson sphere surface inhabitable with minimal need for outside power. It would require some sophisticated calculations and deep knowledge of the stars' weather patterns and orbits, but this should be trivial for a civilization capable of the incredible feat of building a Dyson sphere.

Alternatively, a cloud of particles could be suspended above the overly-illuminated areas, reducing the intensity of the sunlight to levels that are more conducive to habitation. Again, this should be quite easy for such a civilization.

If you opt to leave the hot and cold spots in, you'll have major temperature differentials that would result in enormous turbulence. At any given time you'd have quite a few spectacular storms. Forget storms the size of Jupiter's Red spot; you potentially could have storms the size of Jupiter itself! They might settle into stable patterns over time, but I doubt it would be hard for them to be unpredictable and constantly shifting. The existence of large oceans to act as heat sinks would probably reduce the intensity of nearby storms, but you would need a lot of ocean to have a noticeable effect on the overall system.

This is, of course, assuming that the civilization doesn't just outright direct or control the weather. I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, but your civilization would easily be able to do something like this.

You could also design the surface of the Dyson sphere in ways that channel and direct the weather, blunting or strengthening the storms in certain areas.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for "your civilization would easily be able to [control the weather]." The inhabitants, or at least the designers, are a Type 2 civilization. Unless the designers left the inhabitants to develop on their own while they watched from afar or something like that. $\endgroup$ – Pedro May 7 '16 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ Even then, they would probably design the system in such a way that they don't have to worry about the inhabitants being wiped out by the mother of all hurricanes. Of course, this might have been a long time ago. Things wear down over time, even things built by such powerful civilizations, especially when the inhabitants start playing with large-scale explosives. And assuming that the weather is merely directed instead of actively controlled, damaged weather-altering geological structures could strengthen inclement weather instead of preventing it. Might be a good emerging disaster scenario. $\endgroup$ – emo bob May 7 '16 at 3:07
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure "storm" is the right word here--you would have major convection cells that would result in the normal wind pattern on the surface being from the cold areas to the hot areas. $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel May 7 '16 at 22:01

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