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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.

Layers of the Earth's Atmosphere

There are five layers in the atmosphere. The atmosphere thins out until it reaches space.

1) The troposphere is where weather occurs. You breathe the air in the troposphere.
2) Many airplanes fly in the stratosphere because it is very stable. Also, the ozone layer is there.
3) Many rock fragments from space burn up in the mesosphere.
4) The thermosphere is very thin. It's where the space shuttle orbits.
5) The upper limit of our atmosphere is the exosphere.

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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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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF