Every child wonders what goes on in space, hundreds and thousands of miles away from the surface of the Earth.
These incredible facts about the Earth's mesosphere are here to enlighten them and you! Whether it's for a science project or just out of general curiosity, discover all about this layer of the atmosphere below.
These fun facts about the mesosphere tell you everything you need to know about this layer of the atmosphere, from its location in space, what it is composed of and some of the phenomena which occur inside it. These facts also highlight the importance of the mesosphere's role in protecting the Earth from objects like meteors.
If you are after more interesting facts to help you children with projects or to understand a topic better, Kidadl's website offers many more carefully curated lists on a wide variety of subjects. If you need more information about the different layers of the atmosphere, why not take a look at these facts about the asthenosphere, or these troposphere facts?
Fascinating Mesosphere Facts
These interesting facts about the mesosphere are sure to interest your aspiring astronauts and make them want to explore space! You will find lots of interesting trivia about this layer of the atmosphere.
1. The layers of the atmosphere are like a protective blanket around the Earth. They are in place to create a habitable environment for humans, maintaining an adequate temperature and climate for us to live and protecting us from solar radiation.
2. The mesosphere is one of the five layers of the atmosphere which surrounds the Earth. The other four layers are the troposphere, the stratosphere, the thermosphere and the exosphere.
3. The mesosphere is the third layer above the Earth, after the stratosphere and the troposphere.
4. The word mesosphere comes from the Greek words 'mesos sphaira' which literally mean "middle sphere".
5. The mesosphere is approximately 23 miles thick, although it does not have clear start and end points. It is located at an altitude of about 31 to 43 miles and extends up to about 53 to 62 miles away from the surface of the Earth.
6. The mesosphere's exact boundaries vary according to the latitude of the location you are observing it from: they are higher at the tropics and lower at the poles.
7. The mesosphere's boundaries also vary according to the seasons: they are higher in winter and lower in the summer.
8. The mesosphere is part of the area which people call "near space", which spans up to roughly 62 miles (100 kms).
9. The mesosphere is the coldest layer of the atmosphere which surrounds the Earth. It can reach five degrees Fahrenheit at its warmest but the further you travel away from the Earth, the colder it gets: the temperature in the mesosphere can reach -150 degrees Fahrenheit.
10. The area where the mesosphere transitions into the thermosphere is the coldest area of the mesosphere, and it is called the mesopause. The mesopause is the coldest part of the atmosphere.
11. The mesosphere is cold enough for vapour to freeze into ice clouds called noctilucent clouds or polar mesospheric clouds. These noctilucent clouds are visible at sunset from the Earth's poles.
12. There is such a high atmospheric drag in the mesosphere that research equipment like satellites can't stay in orbit inside it, making the mesosphere a hard environment to study. It is also too high for a conventional aircraft to fly into.
13. To study the mesosphere, scientists have to use research rockets called "sounding rockets", which are often made from surplus military rocket motors.
14. The issue with sounding rockets is they can only be used to make short flights and are unable to orbit around the Earth, so the mesosphere is still a relatively poorly understood space. Some people even call it the "ignorosphere"!
Things Found In The Mesosphere
Plenty of interesting things happen in the mesosphere! Despite it being a very difficult area for scientists to study, we know what it is made of and the kinds of atmospheric events that happen in that area of space. Have a read to learn about all the things in the mesosphere and what happens in this layer of the Earth's atmosphere.
15. The atmosphere of the mesosphere, meaning the gases present in this layer, is made up of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
16. As it is at such a high altitude, air is very thin up in the mesosphere, which means we would not be able to breathe up there.
17. The mesosphere is the highest of the atmospheric layers in which gases are all mixed up, instead of being layered in terms of their mass.
18. The mesosphere protects the Earth from meteors and asteroids by burning them up before they can reach its surface. Meteors can pass through the exosphere and the thermosphere (the outer layers of the atmosphere) as they do not have much air, but in the mesosphere there are enough gases to create heat, which results in them burning.
19. Protecting the Earth from meteors is a big job: it is estimated that about 40 tons of meteors fall towards the Earth every day!
20. When meteors burn up in the mesosphere, they can sometimes be seen in the sky at night: these balls of fire shooting across the atmosphere are called "shooting stars"!
21. Lightning also occurs in the mesosphere, called "sprites" and "elves", which can sometimes be bright red.
22. Atmospheric tides happen in the mesosphere: they are oscillations of the atmosphere. They are similar to ocean tides as they can be triggered by the gravitational field pull of the Moon.
23. Another event which happens in the mesosphere is planetary waves. These begin in the troposphere and then spread to the mesosphere. Planetary waves are giant wind movements caused by the planet's rotation, and they have a big influence on the weather on the Earth's surface.
24. Inside the mesosphere, the wind blows in two different directions depending on the altitude. In the lower mesosphere, it blows from North to South and in the upper mesosphere it blows from East to West.
25. A five kilometre sodium layer is present in the mesosphere, which is composed of unbound sodium atoms. These atoms radiate gently which creates a phenomenon called an "airglow". This faint light means the night sky is never completely dark.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions of incredible mesosphere layer facts, then why not take a look at this list of the best water conservation facts for eco-conscious kids, or at these fun facts about the respiratory system that you won't believe are true?
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