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As you go higher in the mesosphere, the air gets colder.
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Original artwork by Windows to the Universe staff (Randy Russell).

Temperature in the Mesosphere

The top of the mesosphere is the coldest part of the atmosphere. It can get down to -90° C (-130° F) there! As you go higher in the mesosphere, the air gets colder.

The air is much thinner (less dense) in the mesosphere than in the stratosphere below. There are fewer air molecules to absorb incoming electromagnetic radiation from the Sun. That includes molecules of ozone, which absorb ultraviolet radiation and heat the stratosphere. In the mesosphere, the thin air and small amounts of ozone keep the air from warming much.

Last modified March 31, 2009 by Randy Russell.

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