Atmosphere Facts

When you breathe in and out, you are breathing in air from the atmosphere.

Even though it seems like the air is clear and invisible, there are many different types of elements that make up the air that we breathe.

Inside of the atmosphere, there are different particles, liquids, and gasses that are all around the earth that we live in.


Most of the atmosphere is made up of the gas, nitrogen. Nitrogen makes up around 78% of the gas in the atmosphere. Nitrogen is important because it is needed in order for the atmosphere to make proteins.

Oxygen is also in the atmosphere. Oxygen makes up 21% of the atmosphere and is necessary for people, animals and even plants to live.

The last 1% of the air is made up of other gases, carbon dioxide, water vapor and argon.

What Does the Atmosphere Do?

The reason that the atmosphere is so important is that it helps to protect us. Our atmosphere protects us by giving us heat so that we can be warm and not freeze to death.

It also helps to protect us from getting too much radiation from the sun. If we did not have the atmosphere, we would have no protection from the heat of the sun.

The atmosphere also protects us from rocks, asteroids, meteoroids and other things from flying into the Earth. If we did not have this protection, the earth would not be protected.

Layers of the Atmosphere

There are different layers of the Earth that form the atmosphere and they are named because of the way that they change temperatures.

The layer that we live in is called the Troposphere

This layer is the lowest layer and is around 7.5 miles long. The troposphere has around 90% of the mass of the atmosphere and when the altitude increases, the temperature decreases. The troposphere is where the weather takes place.

On top of the troposphere is the Stratosphere

This layer is around 30 miles high and the temperature of the stratosphere starts at around -76 degrees Fahrenheit and it increases with an altitude of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. One important thing about the stratosphere is that this is where the ozone layer is located.

The ozone layer is made up of oxygen that has three oxygen atoms per molecule. Because of this, the ozone layer helps to absorb the UV rays from the sun. The ozone layer helps to protect us from the sun.

Above the stratosphere is the Mesosphere

The temperature starts to get cooler. This layer is around 30-50 miles and it is the coldest layer that starts about -130 degrees Fahrenheit.

The mesosphere does not have very many molecules to absorb heat. Most of the time, rocks and meteors will burn as they travel through the mesosphere. If they did not burn, they would hit the Earth.

The Thermosphere is the upper layer

The air is thin there, but the temperatures reach up to 3,272 degrees Fahrenheit. This happens because this is the layer that is closest to the sun and the sun hits this layer first. This layer has very few nitrogens and oxygen molecules.

On the thermosphere, at the top is the exosphere. This is around 342 miles and goes towards space. Even though some say the atmosphere only has four layers, some scientists consider this to be the fifth layer.

Facts About the Atmosphere:

  • The sun’s rays are scattered by the molecules in the air.
  • When the sun rises and sets, the shorter wavelengths that are blue and green are scattered away and the longer wavelengths that are orange and red reach the Earth and that is what causes the sunset and sunrise to be so pretty!
  • The atmosphere makes the temperatures safe for us to be able to live and survive.
  • The atmosphere is divided into four different main layers.
  • When cooling and healing happens in the atmosphere, this is what causes there to be the weather.
  • The atmosphere is a mixture of gasses that are on and around the Earth.
  • Nitrogen has no color and no odor.
  • Nitrogen is also found in all living creatures!
  • Even though the temperature on the thermosphere is over 3000 degrees, you would not feel the heat because the molecules are far apart, and they do not transfer the energy to be felt like heat.

Earth's atmospheric

What Did You Learn?

  • How many layers of the atmosphere are there?
    Most people say that there are four layers, the troposphere, stratosphere, atmosphere, and thermosphere, but some scientists say there are five because of the exosphere.
  • What percentage of the atmosphere is oxygen?
    Oxygen makes up 21% of the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • What layer is the uppermost layer?
    The uppermost layer of the atmosphere is the thermosphere.
  • What is the layer that helps to protect us from the heat of the sun?
    The ozone layer helps to protect us from the heat of the sun and the UV rays.
  • What is the gas that is found on the Earth that is important to give life to all living things?
    Nitrogen is a colorless and odorless gas that is found in all living things.