The photosphere is a star's outer shell from which light is radiated. The term itself is derived from Ancient Greek roots, φῶς, φωτός/phos, photos meaning "light" and σφαῖρα/sphaira meaning "sphere", in reference to it being a spherical surface that is perceived to emit light. It extends into a star's surface until the plasma becomes opaque, equivalent to an optical depth of approximately 2/3[1], or equivalently, a depth from which 50% of light will escape without being scattered.In other words, a photosphere is the deepest region of a luminous object, usually a star, that is transparent to photons of certain wavelengths.


The surface of a star is defined to have a temperature given by the effective temperature in the Stefan–Boltzmann law. Stars, except neutron stars, have no solid surface.[2] Therefore, the photosphere is typically used to describe the Sun's or another star's visual surface .

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