astral plane

astral plane (plural astral planes)

  1. (parapsychology, Theosophy) A supernatural plane of existence, propounded by esoteric philosophies, some religious teachings, and New Age thought.
  2. (computing, slang, humorous) A Unicode plane (range spanning 65536 code points) above the Basic Multilingual Plane
    • 2002, David Brownell, SAX2, O'Reilly Media ISBN 9780596002374, page 110
      If your application works with MathML, or in various languages whose character sets gained support in Unicode 3.1 through the so-called Astral Planes, you will need to know that what Java calls a char is not really the same thing as a Unicode character or an XML character.
    • 2002, Lars Marius Garshol, [// Re: Stupid Unicode/UTF-16 Question], comp.text.xml, Usenet
      The answer was UTF-16. Two blocks of 16-bit values were set aside for use as special values for encoding astral plane characters.
    • 2009, Mark Pilgrim, Dive Into Python 3, Apress ISBN 9781430224167, page 55
      UTF-16 encodes every character from O—65535 as 2 bytes; it then uses some dirty hacks if you actually need to represent the rarely used astral plane Unicode characters beyond 65535.
    • 2011, Tom Anderson, [// Efficient unicode string implementation was: Re: Why No Supplemental Characters In Character Literals?],, Usenet
      The astral planes include some such characters, notably in the CJK extensions, without which it is impossible to write some people's names correctly.
    • 2011, David Hunter, Jeff Rafter, et al. (6 other authors), Beginning XML, John Wiley & Sons ISBN 9781118169353, page 134
      Such characters are in the so-called “Astral Planes,” with a code point above U+FFFF.
    • 2012, MRAB, [// Re: Py 3.3, unicode / upper()], comp.lang.python, Usenet
      But not all codepoints are used equally. Those in the "astral plane", for example, are used rarely, so the vast majority of the time you would be using twice as much memory as strictly necessary.
    • 2014, Axel Rauschmayer, Speaking JavaScript, O'Reilly Media ISBN 9781449365011, page 364
      Let's assume you want to display a Unicode character via JavaScript that is in an astral plane (obviously, there is a risk when doing so: not all fonts support all such characters).
  • astral world
  • desire world

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