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The layers of the atmosphere

There are many layers of the Earth’s atmosphere: the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere. Each layer has its own characteristics and temperature. One has birds, some have planes, a couple even have satellites. It is almost like five different worlds sitting on top of each other. 

The troposphere is the lowest layer of the atmosphere; it is 10 miles high at the equator, and 80% of the atmospheric mass and most water vapor is there. Temperatures decrease as the altitude increases. This is quite low compared to some of the other layers of the earth. It is also where we live.

The stratosphere is the second layer of the atmosphere; it begins 6 to 8 miles (10-13 km) above sea level and ends 31 to 34 miles (approximately 50-55 km)  above sea level. Jet- powered airplanes can fly in the stratosphere; on the other hand propeller powered airplanes cannot. In this layer of the atmosphere temperatures increase as the altitude increases.

The mesosphere is the third layer of the atmosphere; it begins 31 miles (50 km) above sea level and ends at 50 to 53 miles (approximately 80-85 km) above sea level. Planes cannot fly in the mesosphere because the air in the mesosphere is so thin that the airplane cannot produce lift. The average temperature in the mesosphere is -120°F or -85°C. Here the temperature decreases as altitude increases. TLE (trans luminous event) happens in the mesosphere; this happens way above lightning and thunderstorms. It happens very fast though, so in order to actually catch it happening you have to have a camera that is capable of taking pictures very fast.

The thermosphere is the fourth layer of the atmosphere, and it begins 50 miles or 80 km above sea level and ends at 310 to 620 miles (approximately 230 to 380 km above sea level. The ISS orbits here at 200 to 240 miles above sea level, in other words 320 to 380 km above sea level. Here temperature increases as altitude increases. The temperature can be at 2700°F, which is 1500°C, but due to low atmospheric pressure and relatively few molecules it would feel very cold.

The exosphere is the outer layer of the atmosphere; it begins 700 km above sea level and disappears into space at 10,000 km above sea level which is approximately 6200 miles above sea level. The majority of satellites orbit here. Atmospheric pressure is extremely low.

 In summary, the layers of the atmosphere start low but get very high and very cold as you get farther away from the surface of the earth. We are so lucky that the layer of the atmosphere lowest to the earth is the one we can live in and is just right for us. What do you think about the layers of the atmosphere? 

References: Quora


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