Skip to main content
Select Source:

Thermosphere

Thermosphere

Based on the vertical temperature profile in the atmosphere, the thermosphere is the highest layer, located above the mesosphere . While in the troposphere and the mesosphere, the temperature decreases with altitude. In the stratosphere and thermosphere the temperature increases with height (called temperature inversion). It is separated from the mesosphere by the mesopause, in which the temperature does not change much vertically. Above the thermosphere, the upper limit of the atmosphere, the exosphere can be found blending into space . The upper part of the mesosphere and a big part of the thermosphere overlap with the ionosphere , which is a region defined on the basis of electric properties. The thermosphere and the exosphere together form the upper atmosphere.

Among the four atmospheric temperature-defined layers, the thermosphere is located highest above Earth's surface, beginning at about 57 mi (90 km) above Earth, and reaching into about 300 mi (500 km) height. The name of this layer, thermosphere, originates from the Greek thermo, meaning heat, because in this layer the temperature increases with altitude reaching temperatures higher than 1830°F (1000°C). In the thermosphere, oxygen molecules absorb the energy from the Sun's rays, which results in the warming of the air. Because there are relatively few molecules and atoms in the thermosphere, even absorbing small amounts of solar energy can significantly increase the air temperature, making the thermosphere the hottest layer in the atmosphere. Above 124 mi (200 km), the temperature becomes independent of altitude.

Because the thermosphere and exosphere belong to the upper atmosphere, the density of the air in addition to the atmospheric pressure is greatly reduced when compared to the atmosphere at Earth's surface. At these high altitudes, the atmospheric gases tend to sort into layers according to their molecular mass, and chemical reactions happen much faster here than near the surface of the earth.

See also Atmospheric composition and structure

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Thermosphere." World of Earth Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Thermosphere." World of Earth Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thermosphere

"Thermosphere." World of Earth Science. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thermosphere

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

thermosphere

ther·mo·sphere / ˈ[unvoicedth]ərmōˌsfir/ • n. the region of the atmosphere above the mesosphere and below the height at which the atmosphere ceases to have the properties of a continuous medium. The thermosphere is characterized throughout by an increase in temperature with height.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermosphere." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermosphere." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermosphere-0

"thermosphere." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermosphere-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

thermosphere

thermosphere The upper zone of the atmosphere, above about 80km, where solar radiation of the shortest wavelengths is absorbed. In this zone, which includes the ionosphere, temperature increases with height, but because of the very low atmospheric density there, the heat capacity is minute. See also ATMOSPHERIC STRUCTURE.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermosphere." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermosphere." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermosphere

"thermosphere." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermosphere

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

thermosphere

thermosphere The upper zone of the atmosphere, above about 80 km, where solar radiation of the shortest wavelengths is absorbed. In this zone, which includes the ionosphere, temperature increases with height, but because of the very low atmospheric density there, the heat capacity is minute.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermosphere." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermosphere." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermosphere-0

"thermosphere." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermosphere-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

thermosphere

thermosphereGambia, ZambiaArabia, labia, SwabiaLibya, Namibia, tibia •euphorbia •agoraphobia, claustrophobia, homophobia, hydrophobia, phobia, technophobia, xenophobia, Zenobia •Nubia • rootbeer • cumbia •Colombia, Columbia •exurbia, Serbia, suburbia •Wiltshire • Flintshire •gaillardia, Nadia, tachycardia •steadier • compendia •Acadia, Arcadia, nadir, stadia •reindeer •acedia, encyclopedia, media, multimedia •Lydia, Numidia •India • belvedere • Claudia •Cambodia, odea, plasmodia, podia, roe-deer •Mafia, raffia, tafia •Philadelphia • hemisphere •planisphere • Montgolfier • Sofia •ecosphere • biosphere • atmosphere •thermosphere • ionosphere •stratosphere • headgear • switchgear •logia • nemesia • menhir

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thermosphere." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thermosphere." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermosphere

"thermosphere." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thermosphere

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.