The Atmosphere

Layers of the Atmosphere

Why is the thermosphere so hot?

While the temperature of the thermosphere can exceed 3,600°F (1,982°C), the atmosphere here is so thin that an ordinary thermometer would not register this temperature (a regular thermometer would indicate temperatures below freezing). Instead, special instruments are used to measure the speed of the few particles that are in the thermosphere, and these indicate the extraordinary highs. Atoms and molecules in the thermosphere are excited by radiation from outer space.


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