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What is Air?
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The atmosphere is the air which surrounds the earth. This envelope of air is divided into four sections or layers by height. These are the

The Troposphere is the layer of air nearest the earth. This layer extends from the earth's surface to the area in the atmosphere where the air becomes constant and stops becoming lower. The thickness of this layer varies. It is about 6 miles thick over the North and South Pole and 10 miles thick at the Equator. Most of the air, water and dust is found in this layer. Between this layer of the atmosphere and the Stratosphere is the Tropopause.

The Stratosphere is about 20 miles thick. It extends from the edge of the troposphere to a level about 30 miles above the earth's surface. This layer of the atmosphere contains a layer of oxygen called ozone. layer of oxygen called ozone.

The Mesosphere rises above the Stratosphere to a level 50 miles above the surface of the earth. The trails left behind by meteors that enter the earths atmosphere are see in this layer.

When we arrive at a height of 50 miles above the surface we venture into the Thermosphere. There is little air here. The air here is extremely thin. Air is fully exposed to the Sun's radiation here. Air temperatures climb well over 1000 F. The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis occur in the Thermosphere. The Ionosphere is an area within the Thermosphere. Radiation from the sun charges particles in this area creating Ions.


In this Investigation,

In this Investigation, students will find out about the layers of air above the Earth that we call the atmosphere. Students will understand where the atmosphere is and will make a chart of the Atmosphere as part of Investigation 2

Investigation Worksheets(PDF's)

Atmosphere Layers (PDF's)

Investigation Video's