Look up! What lies above the sky? Have you wondered where rockets fly or how high are the clouds? What if I told you that the sky you see has more layers above it and that you are wrapped in a thick blanket of air? Download this fascinating poster that tells you everything you have ever wanted to know about the sky and the atmospheric layers. You just might be surprised by all the amazing facts!
What is the atmosphere?
The atmosphere is a mixture of various gases that form a thick blanket around the Earth. The gravity of the Earth holds the atmosphere in place.
What is the atmosphere composed of?
Various gases form the atmosphere. About 78 percent of the atmosphere contains nitrogen, 21% is oxygen, 0.9% is argon, and 0.1 percent is other gases. Other gases that make up the remaining 0.1% include trace amounts of carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and neon.
What are the layers of the atmosphere?
Depending upon the temperature, the atmosphere is divided into five layers. They are:
- Troposphere: This layer lies closest to the Earth’s surface. It extends to about 12 km or 7.5 miles from the surface. It forms about 80% of the atmosphere and it is the thickest of all layers. The clouds you see in the sky are found in this layer. All hot air balloons and passenger planes fly within this layer too. It mainly contains water vapor, ash, and dust particles.
- Stratosphere: From the top of the troposphere up to 50 km/~31 miles lies the stratosphere. This is very important layer since it contains the ozone layer which absorbs the harmful UV rays of the sun and protects life on Earth.
- Mesosphere: Above the stratosphere stretching up to 85 km/52.8 miles is the mesosphere. The coldest temperature (-90 ℃) in the atmosphere is near the top of this layer. Meteors burn up in this layer and create “shooting stars”.
- Thermosphere: The fourth layer, extending up to 700 km/435 miles is the thermosphere. It records temperatures as high as 2000℃. Various satellites and the International Space Station of NASA are seen in this layer.
- Exosphere: The outermost layer of the atmosphere is called the exosphere which extends beyond 700 km/435 miles. Beyond the exosphere, there occurs a transition from the Earth’s atmosphere into space.
Is there a line between Earth and Space?
The altitude at which space begins is known as the Kármán line. It reaches a height of 100 km/ 62.1 miles. It is widely used to symbolize the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.
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Interested to learn more about atmospheric layers? Read More