|photosphere (fō'tə-sfîr') Pronunciation Key
The lowest visible layer of a star, lying beneath the chromosphere and the corona. Stars are made entirely of gas and thus have no surface per se, but the gas beneath the photosphere is opaque, so the photosphere acts as their effective visible surface; it is also the boundary from which the Sun's diameter is measured. The Sun's photosphere is a very thin layer made up of numerous granules (transient convective cells) where hot gases rise and give off light and heat. The photosphere of the Sun has a temperature of around 6,000°K and is the region in which sunspot activity is located.