What is the atmosphere?

The atmosphere is the air that plants and animals breathe to stay alive. It’s a big blanket of gases that are made up mostly of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%). It’s also made up of lots of other gases like helium, argon and carbon dioxide. 

To stop the gases from flying away into space, gravity keeps them close to the Earth.

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What does the atmosphere do?

The atmosphere absorbs heat from the Sun helping to keep the Earth warm. Without the atmosphere, the Earth would be so cold we wouldn’t be able to live on it!

The atmosphere also keeps the temperature of the Earth steady so it’s not too cold at night and not too hot during the day.


What is the ozone layer?

The ozone layer is the part of the atmosphere that protects the Earth from the Sun’s radiation. It’s like a big suncream in the sky that stops us all from burning.


Did you know?

  • Planets in space also have atmospheres.
  • Near the Earth’s surface, the air is mostly made up of nitrogen and oxygen. The higher up you go, the air is mostly made of hydrogen and helium.
  • Even though the atmosphere is made up of gas, the gas has weight so the atmosphere has pressure.