Layers of the Atmosphere
atmosphere is a protective layer of gasses that surrounds the entire planet.
It keeps temperatures within a relatively small range, blocks out harmful
rays of sunlight, and provides plants and animals with air to respire.
The atmosphere has five different layers that are determined by the changes
in temperature that happen with increasing altitude.
The troposphere is where weather happens. The part of this layer that
is closest to the Earth is warmer than the top of the layer. The air is
heated by the surface of the Earth, which absorbs the Sun’s energy.
The stratosphere is where jet airplanes fly. Temperatures increase with
altitude. The ozone layer within
the stratosphere absorbs harmful ultraviolet rays of sunlight.
Brrr! The coldest parts of our atmosphere are found in the mesosphere.
It can reach–90°C up there!
There are few air molecules is the thermosphere. The thermosphere can
heat up to 1,500°C or higher when the Sun is active, making an aurora
that lights up the night sky. Astronauts orbiting Earth in the space station
or space shuttle spend their time in this layer.
The upper layer of our atmosphere, where atoms and molecules escape into
space, is called the exosphere.