How High Does the Earth’s Atmosphere Extend?

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CC-BY 2.0

Earth’s atmosphere extends approximately 430 miles up from the surface of the planet. The layer that contains most of the air on the planet, the troposphere, also provides the majority of weather events and only goes up about 11 miles into the air.

Above the troposphere, the stratosphere extends 19 more miles up, to a total height of 30 miles. The stratosphere contains the ozone layer, which keeps a lot of the ultraviolet rays from the sun from reaching the surface. Then comes the mesosphere, which is the layer in which most meteors burn up. The highest layer is the ionosphere, so thin that it offers scant protection when compared to outer space. Many satellites and the International Space Station orbit inside the ionosphere.