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Layers of the Earth's Atmosphere

The atmosphere is divided into five layers. It is thickest near the surface and thins out with height until it eventually merges with space.

1) The troposphere is the first layer above the surface and contains half of the Earth's atmosphere. Weather occurs in this layer.
2) Many jet aircrafts fly in the stratosphere because it is very stable. And the ozone layer absorbs harmful rays from the Sun here.
3) Meteors burn up in the mesosphere .
4) The thermosphere is a layer with auroras. It is also where the space shuttle orbits.
5) The atmosphere merges into space in the extremely thin exosphere. This is the upper limit of our atmosphere.

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Last modified November 7, 2010 by Roberta Johnson.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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