Earth's Atmosphere

Earth's atmosphere is about 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, with trace amounts of water, argon, carbon dioxide and other gases. The exact composition, as well as the temperature and pressure of the atmosphere, varies with its height. The atmosphere is divided into layers: The troposphere is the lowest layer and extends from Earth's surface up to a height of about 30 miles (48 kilometers); it is where most of Earth's weather occurs. Above the troposphere is the stratosphere, where the ultraviolet-blocking ozone layer is found. Above that is the mesosphere, the thermosphere and the ionosphere. Earth's atmosphere is home to different types of clouds, the auroras, different types of lightning.
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Latest Articles

Missing Electrons in the Atmosphere Possibly Found
layers of Earth's atmosphere
December 29th, 2015
The mysterious disappearance of electrons in the atmosphere could be caused by meteors burning up in the sky, new research suggests.
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Whiffs of Antarctic Sulfur Hold Climate Clues
August 4th, 2014
Huge wildfires sparked by a powerful El Niño event 16 years ago left a distinct tinge of sulfur in Antarctica's snow.
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New Alien Life Claim Far from Convincing, Scientists Say
Comets Contain Elements for Life
September 20th, 2013
A team of British researchers says a cell fragment found high up in Earth's atmosphere likely came from outer space. But such an extraordinary claim requires much more convincing evidence, outside scientists say.
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Secret Weapon? Conspiracy Theories Abound as US Military Closes HAARP
HAARP in Alaska
May 22nd, 2014
HAARP, the ionospheric research program and longtime target for conspiracy theorists, is set to shut down this year, despite complaints from some scientists, who say the facility could still be useful.
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Rockets' Red Glare! NASA Marks Fourth of July with Double Launch
NASA Fourth of July Launch: Liftoff
July 4th, 2013
NASA launched two small rockets from Virginia's Eastern Shore on July 4 to probe the electrical currents of the Earth's ionosphere. The Daytime Dynamo mission launched after days of delay just in time for the U.S. Fourth of July holiday.
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'Gigantic Jet' Lightning Spotted Over China
Gigantic jet lightning
February 26th, 2013
Furthest from equator phenomenon has been observed.
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Origin of Mysterious Jellyfish Lightning 'Sprites' Revealed
A red sprite with a classic jellyfish shape
May 9th, 2014
The origin of the mysterious reddish lighting above thunderstorms, known as atmospheric sprites, has long puzzled scientists, but they now have some idea how it forms.
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Faint 'Red Arcs' Spotted Over Europe
Image of night sky with aurora and red arc
April 2nd, 2013
Advanced cameras helped scientists spot the phenomenon.
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