About 260 miles above Kazakhstan the International Space Station took an amazing photo of the Earth’s atmosphere. Seen from out there, the invisible atmosphere when looked at from down here has a special glow. As always, the truth lies in the eye of the beholder. And form the ISS, it has a thin copper-tinted limb.
The word atmosphere comes from Greek and it means vapory ball. It is a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in place by the gravity of that body.
Although all the atmospheric compounds are colorless, due to light bending, like when the Sun shines on Earth’s atmosphere, light particles get scattered in the atmosphere. This is why we can see different colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
About the Earth’s Atmosphere
Earth’s atmosphere consists of several layers. They differ in composition, temperature, and pressure.
The troposphere is the lowest layer and it extends from the surface to the bottom of the stratosphere. Three-quarters of the atmosphere’s mass resides within the troposphere and is the layer within which the Earth’s terrestrial weather develops. The depth of this layer varies between 17 kilometers at the equator to 7 kilometers at the poles.
The stratosphere extends from the top of the troposphere to the bottom of the mesosphere. It contains the ozone layer that ranges in altitude between 15 and 35 kilometers and is where most of the ultraviolet radiation from the Sun is absorbed.
The mesosphere’s top ranges from 50 to 85 kilometers. It is the layer wherein most meteors burn up.
The thermosphere extends from 85 kilometers to the base of the exosphere at 400 kilometers and contains the ionosphere, a region where the atmosphere is ionized by incoming solar radiation. It is where Aurora occurs.
The exosphere begins from about 690 to 1,000 kilometers above the surface, where it interacts with the planet’s magnetosphere.