sphero-, spher-, -sphere-

(Greek: ball, round, around; globe, global; body of globular form; by extension, circular zone, circular area)

earth spinning.
adminisphere (s) (noun), adminispheres (pl)
1. Those who are in an organization's upper levels of administration that sit just above the rank and file or common worker: "Bob's adminisphere came up with requirements that were more confusing than useful."
2. Slang for the rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank-and-file: "Decisions that result from the adminisphere are usually not practical or they are not connected to the situation that really needs to solve a problem or problems."
aerosphere (s) (noun), aerospheres (pl)
1. The area outside the air surrounding the earth where manned flight is possible: The power of the rocket propelled it to the outer limits of the aerosphere.
2. The entire mass of gas surrounding the earth: The aerosphere surrounding the planet Earth is comprised of a variety of gases.
allobiosphere (s) (noun), allobiospheres (pl)
That part of the earth's surface and surrounding air that is capable of supporting life in which heterotrophic (dependent on other sources for food) organisms occur but into which organic food material must be transported because the primary production does not take place where they are: Most of the occupants of the various allobiospheres usually depend on green plants that include elements of solar energy that have been converted into chemical energy which is food for the various species of animal life.

Another allobiosphere has been discovered at the bottom of the seas where hot springs come up from that part of the Earth that is deep below the surface or on the seafloor where hot springs have animals that are separate from green plants but that depend on bacteria that utilize the energy of chemicals from the hot springs.

Ocean depths are the most extensive and permanent example of the allobiosphere where in great areas there is no light and so there is no active plant life; however, explorers of the depths of the oceans have discovered various animals; such as, worms, prawn-like creatures, and many types of fish that live in these locations.

The ecologist, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, coined the term allobiosphere for these environments, where plant life and its photosynthesis are replaced by environmental extremes of darkness, heat, or cold, but where life continues, life that depends for nourishment from materials that come from other places.

—This information was compiled from the following sources:
"The Allobiosphere", WorldandISchool.com; "Life in the allobiosphere", UK Pubmed Central;
based on excerpts from "Natural Science", by John S. Edwards; 1988.
anthroposphere (s) (noun), anthropospheres (pl)
The part of the surface and the surrounding biosphere of the earth which has been affected by such human activities as agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, urbanization, and industrialization: The agricultural college had a list of courses dealing with anthroposphere studying the impact of human activities on the earth and the surrounding air.
asphere (s) (noun), aspheres (pl)
A lens whose surfaces have a profile that is neither a portion of a sphere nor of a circular cylinder: "The asphere's more complex surface profile can reduce or eliminate spherical aberration and also reduce other optical aberrations compared to a simple lens because a single asphere type of lens can often replace a much more complex multi-lens system.

—As seen in
"Ophthalmic Lens Design", Opticampus.com.
aspheric (adjective), more aspheric, most aspheric
Varying slightly from a perfectly spherical shape: "Aspheric lenses are sometimes used for eyeglasses which are typically designed to give a thinner lens, and also distort the viewer's eyes less as seen by other people, producing better aesthetic appearances">

"Aspheric eyeglass lenses typically do not provide better vision than standard best form lenses, but rather allow a thinner, flatter lens to be made without reducing the optical performance."

aspherical (adjective), more aspherical, most aspherical
With reference to a reflecting surface or lens, deviating slightly from a perfectly round shape and relatively free from aberrations: "In photography, a lens assembly that includes an aspheric element is often called an aspherical lens."

"As a joke, Lance described his cat as aspherical; that is, not quite round but very plump."

asthenosphere (s) (noun); asthenospheres (pl)
1. The zone or layer of the earth's upper mantle that lies below the rigid, hard crust or surface of the earth and consists of several hundred kilometers of deformable rock, which is capable of plastic deformation, and in which magmas may be generated and the velocity of seismic waves reduced: "Seismologists who study earthquakes are keen to understand the asthenosphere in both the north and south hemispheres, hoping to detect signs that predict earthquakes."
2. A portion of the upper mantle just below the lithosphere which is involved in plate movements and isostatic adjustments: "In spite of asthenosphere's heat, pressures keep it plastic, and it has a relatively low density."

"Seismic waves pass relatively slowly through the asthenosphere, compared to the overlying lithospheric mantle; therefore, it has been called the low-velocity zone and this was the observation that originally alerted seismologists to it's presence and gave some information about its physical properties, as the speed of seismic waves decreases with decreasing rigidity."

"The asthenosphere lies beneath the lithosphere or the upper part of the earth's mantle, extending from a depth of about 75 km (46.5 mi) to about 200 km (124 mi) and consists of partially molten rock and which makes seismic waves passing through this layer significantly slower. "

"Isostatic adjustments (the depression or uplift of continents by buoyancy) take place in the asthenosphere, and the magma is believed to be generated there."

3. Etymology: asthenosphere comes from Greek asthenēs, "weak"; from Greek astheneia, "weakness"; from a-, "without" + sthenos, "strength" + -o-, "a connective vowel" + -sphere, "around, zone".

Lying above the lithosphere is

  • The liquid hydrosphere, comprising 71% of the earth's surface.
  • The still lighter gaseous atmosphere, both of which were ultimately derived from the accretion of comets.

"Sometimes referred to as the weak sphere, the asthenosphere is characterized by being weaker and more elastic than the surrounding mantle."

"Its lack of shear strength results from the high temperature of the rocks approaching the melting point. Since seismic waves travel more slowly in the asthenosphere; it is also referred to as the low velocity zone."

"The asthenosphere's elastic behavior and low viscosity allow the overlying plates to move laterally and also allow the overlying crust and mantle to move vertically in response to gravity to achieve isostatic equilibrium or the theoretical balance in buoyancy of all parts of the earth's crust, as though they were floating on a denser layer beneath them."

—Compiled from information located at
"asthenosphere", Scientific American Science Desk Reference;
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; New York; pages 219 and 220.

"The asthenosphere is the mantle (layer of the earth between the crust and the core) is believed to make up eighty-four percent of the earth by volume and sixty-seven percent by mass."

"The asthenosphere is about 1,802 miles, or 2,900 kilometers, thick and consists of silica, plus iron-rich, magnesium-rich, and other metal-rich minerals."

"The hot plastic asthenosphere, part upper mantle and lower crust, separates the more brittle crust-mantle lithosphere above from the mesosphere below."

"The asthenosphere is thought to be responsible for the movement of the lithospheric plates (crustal plates) that slowly carry the continents around the planet, and the asthenosphere is about 186 miles, or 300 kilometers, thick."

"The more solid mesosphere, located below the asthenosphere, includes part of the upper and all of the lower mantle."

"Scientists theorize that convection in the upper mantle-lower crust, or asthenosphere, slowly carries the lithospheric plates around the planet; while another theory states that convection at a depth of about 375 to 435 miles, or 603 to 700 kilometers, in the part of the mantle (mesosphere) is transferred to the asthenosphere and moves the plates."

—Compiled from information located in
"Geology", The New York Public Library Science Desk Reference;
MacMillan Publisher; New York; pages 377 and 379.
asthenospheric (adjective), more asthenospheric, most asthenospheric
1. A reference to the zone beneath the earth's surface that lies beneath the lithosphere and consists of several hundred kilometers of weak material that readily yields to persistent stresses: According to the theory of plate tectonics, the Earth's lithosphere is a rigid outer layer that moves slowly over the weaker asthenospheric zone.
2. Etymology: from Greek astheneia, "weakness"; which consists of a-, "without" + sthenos, "strength" + -spheric, "being around" or "a zone".
atmosphere (s) (noun), atmospheres (pl)
1. The envelope of gases surrounding the earth and other celestial bodies which is held by the force of gravity: The atmosphere of the earth is being affected by pollution caused by the increased exploitation of natural resources.

The atmosphere consists of four distinct layers whose boundaries are not precise:

  • The "troposphere" (extending from sea level to about 5-10 miles [10 to 20 km] above the earth.
  • The "stratosphere" (up to about 30 miles [50 km]).
  • The "mesosphere" (up to about 60 miles [96 km]).
  • The "thermosphere" (up to about 300 miles or more [480 km]).

The upper region of the troposphere is often regarded as a separate region known as the "exosphere".

2. The gas bound gravitationally to a planet or the pressure of the air on the earth at mean sea level approximately 14.7 pounds per square inch or 760 millimeters high at 0 degrees Celsius under standard gravity: Through the powerful telescope, the astronomers were able to study the atmosphere of the distant planets.

Although some details about the atmospheres of other planets and satellites are known, only the earth's atmosphere has been well studied, the science of which is called "meteorology".

3. The outer layers of a star: The atmosphere surrounding the star appears to cause the twinkle effect which romantic couples dream about.
4. A supposed outer envelope of effective influences surrounding various bodies: The atmosphere of the capital city was one of individuals and corporations attempting to influence politicians.
5. Prevailing psychological climate; a pervading tone or mood; a characteristic mental or moral environment; a fascinating or beguiling association or effect: The atmosphere in the office appeared to be edgy as if there were major staff changes anticipated, but no one knew when that would happen.
6. Applied to the background sounds that evoke a particular mood, impression, setting, etc., in a broadcast program, etc.: The atmosphere created by the music was dark and mysterious.
7. The air in any particular place, especially as affected in its condition by heat, cold, purifying or contaminating influences, etc.: The old wood stove was not well maintained and smoked, creating a smoky atmosphere in the cabin.
8. The predominant tone or mood of a work of art, or the pervading quality, effect, or mood, especially as associated with a particular place: Henry lived in a dark old house with a depressing atmosphere.
9. A distinctively exotic or romantic quality or effect: Willy and Gertrude went to an Italian restaurant where there was lots of atmosphere.
atmospheric (adjective), more atmospheric, most atmospheric
1. Relating, referring to, or taking place in the area of skies surrounding the earth: The illumination by the lights of the city created an atmospheric haze above the city.
2. Dependent on, caused by, or resulting from the collection of gases surrounding the surface of the earth or other celestial bodies: The moon glimmered through the atmospheric mist caused by the wispy clouds in the sky.
3. Descriptive of a distinctive quality or effect in a location: The atmospheric music in the background of the restaurant encouraged patrons to relax and to enjoy their meals.
atmospheric absorption (s) (noun), atmospheric absorptions (pl)
1. The soaking up of radiation by the air and moisture in the mixture of gases surrounding the earth's surface: In Howard's physics class, two of the students invented a gauge to measure atmospheric absorption.
2. The reduction of the energy of microwaves by the presence of moisture in the gases surrounding the earth: The static in the skies at night in the local area appeared to cause the atmospheric absorption of the microwaves, which were interfering with the radar system.
atmospheric acoustics (s) (noun) (no pl)
The propagation of sound through the layer of gases surrounding the earth's surface affects sound in predictable ways depending on conditions, such as temperature and precipitation: When setting up for the outdoor concert, the sound engineers had to take atmospheric acoustics into consideration, including factors such as moisture in the air, placement of speakers on the ground, etc.
atmospheric attenuation (s) (noun), atmospheric attenuations (pl)
The depletion of electromagnetic energy in the layers of gases surrounding the surface of the earth because of absorptions or diffusions: The astronomers discovered that the rate of the atmospheric attenuation of the electric sound waves had decreased when passing through dense clouds.
atmospheric boil, terrestrial scintillation, atmospheric shimmer, optical haze (s) (noun); terrestrial scintillations; atmospheric shimmers; optical hazes; atmospheric boils (pl)
The generic term for scintillation phenomena observed in light that reaches the eyes from sources liying within the earth's atmosphere.

An atmospheric boil, or a scintillation, refers to the rapid fluctuations in the amplitude and phase of electromagnetic or acoustic waves that have propagated through a medium containing fluctuations in refractive index, such as the atmosphere.

The most common example of optical scintillation is the "twinkling" of stars observed through the atmosphere because it arises as a result of random angular scattering produced by refractive index fluctuations.

Fluctuations in the amplitude of different frequency components in the spectrum of an object can give rise to apparent changes in its color (chromatic scintillation). An example is the random red and blue twinkling of bright stars near the horizon.

Scintillation statistics have been used to study turbulence in regions ranging from the planetary boundary layer to the ionosphere, as well as interplanetary and interstellar space and it is important for astronomical imaging, optical and radio communications, laser and acoustical propagation, active and passive remote sensing, and the performance of the Global Positioning System.

Related ball, sphere-word units: glob-, glom-; hemoglobin-.