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This is a schematic showing how atmospheres form.
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The Origin of an Atmosphere

There are four ideas for where a planets atmosphere comes from.

Those four ideas are 1. that the planet-elements which made the planets made the atmosphere too by releasing gases, 2. that the atmosphere was drawn to the planet from the cloud out of which everything came, 3. that comets hit the planet and brought molecules of air with them, 4. that volcanos erupted and made an atmosphere.

The one that applies to Saturn is hypothesis #2, in which the original molecules, which Saturn drew out of the primitive gas cloud stayed, and form the atmosphere today.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA