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What are some facts about the exosphere?

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As the highest layer of the atmosphere, the Earth's exosphere contains very thin air and features both lower and upper boundaries. The exosphere's boundaries vary by altitude depending on the level of the sun's activity and solar radiation emissions. There is some debate among scientists as to whether the exosphere should be considered a layer of the atmosphere or a part of space.

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The exosphere is also known for not having many molecular collisions and for having low molecular densities. The Earth's exosphere contains the following gases: carbon dioxide, hydrogen, oxygen and helium. Below the Earth's exosphere is the thermosphere, followed by the mesosphere, stratosphere and troposphere.

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  • Q:

    What are the characteristics of the exosphere?

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    Since the exosphere is the topmost layer of Earth's atmosphere, the air in it is very thin as it slowly fades into outer space. The air in the exosphere has multiple similarities to the vacuum of space, and it is generally characterized by the existence of light atmospheric gases like helium and hydrogen alongside trace amounts of atomic oxygen and carbon dioxide.

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  • Q:

    What are characteristics of the troposphere?

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    The troposphere is the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere, which contains almost all of the weather, 99 percent of the water vapor and as much as 80 percent of the atmosphere's mass. The troposphere is 12 miles thick at the equator and four miles thick at the poles. The temperature drops from roughly 62 F at the surface to minus 60 F at the upper boundary.

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  • Q:

    Where do the temperature inversions occur in the atmosphere?

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    In meteorology, temperature inversions occur in the layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth's surface, known as the troposphere. Temperature inversions in the atmosphere occur when a cool layer of air close to the Earth's surface is covered by a warm layer above.

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  • Q:

    What is found in the mesosphere?

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    The mesosphere, which is the third innermost layer of the Earth's atmosphere, is comprised largely of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide. Its chemical composition differs very little from that of the innermost layers of atmosphere, with the approximate composition being 79 percent nitrogen, 20 percent oxygen and 1 percent carbon dioxide and other trace gases. The density of these gases is lower in the mesosphere than in the lower atmosphere.

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