The Earth’s atmosphere is divided up into 5 major layers:

  • Exosphere – The last layer and the thinnest. It goes all the way to 10,000 km above the Earth’s surface.
  • Thermosphere – The thermosphere is next and the air is very thin here. Temperatures can get extremely hot in the thermosphere.
  • Mesosphere – The mesosphere covers the next 85 km. beyond the stratosphere. This is where most meteors burn up upon entry. The coldest place on Earth is at the top of the mesosphere.
  • Stratosphere – The stratosphere extends for the next 50 Km. after the troposphere. Unlike the troposphere the stratosphere gets its heat by the Ozone Layer absorbing radiation from the sun. As a result, it gets warmer the further away you get from the Earth. Weather balloons go as high as the stratosphere.
  • Troposphere – The troposphere is the layer next to the ground or surface of the Earth. It covers around 30,000-50,000 feet high. This is where we live and even where planes fly. Around 80% of the mass of the atmosphere is in the troposphere. The troposphere is heated by the surface of the Earth.

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