Earth Sciences


The atmosphere is a gas layer that surrounds a celestial body. These gases are attracted thanks to the bodies' gravity and in that way, they manage to stay in it if the force of gravity is sufficient and the temperature of the atmosphere is low. It is approximately 10,000 km thick and we find it around the lithosphere and the hydrosphere at the same time. It is made up of solid and liquid particles in a suspension state besides the gases included in it, which are attracted by terrestrial gravity. The earth is not the only one that has atmosphere, we can see it in other planets like Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto, Uranus and even the sun.

What is the atmosphere?

A layer formed of gas, solid and liquid particles that are in a state of suspension, which are attracted by the Earth's gravity. It is found surrounding the lithosphere and the hydrosphere. The atmosphere is where all the climatic and meteorological phenomena that we see around us happen and that produce constant changes in our planet.

Characteristics of the atmosphere

Among the main characteristics of the atmosphere we can mention the following:

Atmosphere composition

It consists mainly of gases, nitrogen and oxygen, ozone and carbon dioxide. At the same time, we can find a large amount of water vapor in it. Atmosphere composition varies, because living beings also release and consume some types of gases that are in direct contact with the atmosphere.


The atmosphere has important and vital life functions. It allows biochemical cycles to be adequate when it correctly supplies gases that are indispensable for life. It is responsible for preventing heat leaks and acts as a shield against meteorites, because they disintegrate when they come into contact with atmospheric air. It gives us important protection against solar radiation, without it we would be totally exposed to ultraviolet rays that are extremely harmful to living beings, to space objects that could collide with earth and to important and dramatic variations in temperature and climate during the day and night. The oxygen is vital to our organism, and necessary to be able to complete basic life functions.

Atmosphere types

The atmosphere is divided into different layers, which vary according to temperature and pressure forming a scale called atmospheric thermal gradient. These layers are the following:


The atmosphere has three different stages which are explained below:


The atmosphere is extremely important for life because it protects the Earth, absorbing much of the ultraviolet solar radiation from the ozone layer. In addition, it acts as a protective shield against meteorites and other space materials, which disintegrate into dust thanks to the friction they suffer when they come into contact with air.

Atmosphere in other planets

Several planets have atmospheres, all with different characteristics:

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Atmosphere. Recovered on 24 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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