ionosphere

[ ahy-on-uh-sfeer ]
/ aɪˈɒn əˌsfɪər /
|

noun

the region of the earth's atmosphere between the stratosphere and the exosphere, consisting of several ionized layers and extending from about 50 to 250 miles (80 to 400 km) above the surface of the earth.

Nearby words

  1. ionone,
  2. ionopause,
  3. ionophore,
  4. ionophoresis,
  5. ionosonde,
  6. ionospheric wave,
  7. ionotropic receptor,
  8. ionotropy,
  9. iontophoresis,
  10. ioof

Origin of ionosphere

First recorded in 1925–30; iono- + -sphere

Related formsi·on·o·spher·ic [ahy-on-uh-sfer-ik] /aɪˌɒn əˈsfɛr ɪk/, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ionosphere


British Dictionary definitions for ionosphere

ionosphere

/ (aɪˈɒnəˌsfɪə) /

noun

a region of the earth's atmosphere, extending from about 60 kilometres to 1000 km above the earth's surface, in which there is a high concentration of free electrons formed as a result of ionizing radiation entering the atmosphere from spaceSee also D region, E region, F region
Derived Formsionospheric (aɪˌɒnəˈsfɛrɪk), adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ionosphere

ionosphere

n.

1926, from ion + sphere. Coined by Scottish radar pioneer Robert A. Watson-Watt (1892-1973). So called because it contains many ions.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for ionosphere

ionosphere

[ ī-ŏnə-sfîr′ ]

A region of the Earth's upper atmosphere, extending from a height of 70 km (43 mi) to 400 km (248 mi) and containing atoms that have been ionized by radiation from the Sun. The ionosphere lies mostly in the lower thermosphere and is subdivided into three regions, the D region (70 km to 90 km; 43 to 56 mi), the E region (90 km to 150 km; 56 to 93 mi), and the F region (150 km to 400 km; 93 to 248 mi). The concentration of ionized atoms is lowest in the D region, intermediate in the E region, and highest in the F region. The ionosphere is useful for radio transmission because radio waves, which normally propagate in straight lines, are reflected off the ionized gas particles, thereby being transmitted long distances across the Earth's curved surface. See more at D region E region F region.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for ionosphere

ionosphere

[ (eye-on-uh-sfeer) ]

A region of the atmosphere that begins at an altitude of about thirty miles.

Note

In this region, free particles carrying an electrical charge, atoms ionized (see ionization) by radiation from the sun, reflect radio waves. “Bouncing” radio waves off the ionosphere makes communication possible over long distances of the surface of the Earth.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.