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The thermosphere, located in the earth's atmosphere, is a region of increasing temperature. It is located above the mesosphere. The base of the thermosphere is known as the mesopause and is located at an altitude of approximately 80 kilometers. The top part of the thermosphere is known as the thermopause and is located at approximately 450 kilometers. The mesopause separates it from the mesosphere, and it is the outer layer of the atmosphere. There are a variety of interesting facts about the thermosphere.
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Heat and Temperature
This layer of the atmosphere has a temperature that far exceeds 1,000 degrees Celsius. This layer is the largest of all the atmosphere layers. Ultraviolet radiation causes ionization within this layer. Within the center of the thermosphere, the International Space Station has an orbit that is stable between 200 and 240 miles. This layer of the atmosphere only has a few molecules, but they do receive significant amounts of energy from the sun. This is why the temperature gets so high. The ionosphere is located in the thermosphere's lower part. Temperature is dependent on the particles and gas that absorb the rays of the sun.
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Importance of the Thermosphere
Some of the interesting facts about the thermosphere fall into learning about its importance. The thermosphere greatly helps in protecting the earth and making space exploration and modern forms of communication possible. It also supports and protects life on the planet. It recycles water, absorbs the sun's energy, and creates a moderate temperature. This helps in protecting the earth from the severely cold temperatures of space. It also absorbs a large portion of the ultraviolet and x-ray radiation put off by the sun. This layer of the atmosphere is made up of five layers of gases, especially oxygen and nitrogen.
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Other Interesting Facts
The air in the thermosphere is very thin. It is reported that 99.99 percent of the earth's atmosphere is located below the thermosphere. This layer of the atmosphere is made up of the ionosphere and the exosphere. The exosphere can be found 480 kilometers above the Earth, and then it fades into space. The ionosphere allows signals to be transmitted throughout the world by reflecting radio waves back to Earth.
It has taken longer than 4.5 billion years for the mixture of gases in the atmosphere, including the thermosphere, to evolve. Nitrogen and oxygen make up approximately 99 percent of the atmosphere. The rest is comprised of carbon dioxide, argon, and small amounts of methane, helium, krypton, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, ozone, neon, and xenon.
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Science and Technology Facilities Council. (2011). Interesting Facts – The Atmosphere. Retrieved on February 26, 2011 from the Science and Technology Facilities Council: http://www.stfc.ac.uk/Public%20and%20Schools/2602.aspx
TFR Education Resource Center. (2011). What is the Thermosphere? Retrieved on February 26, 2011 from TFR Education Resource Center: http://www.thefreeresource.com/thermosphere-facts-information-and-resources-about-the-layer