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  • An atmosphere, meaning "vapour", and σφαῖρα, meaning "sphere") is a layer of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in place by the gravity of that body

 Atmosphere facts

  • An atmosphere is more likely to be retained if its gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low
  • The atmosphere of Earth is mostly composed of nitrogen
  • It also contains oxygen and other gases in trace amounts
  • Used by most organisms for respiration and carbon dioxide used by plants, algae and cyanobacteria for photosynthesis
  • The atmosphere helps protect living organisms from genetic damage by solar ultraviolet radiation, solar wind and cosmic rays
  • Its current composition is the product of billions of years of biochemical modification of the paleoatmosphere by living organisms
  • The term stellar atmosphere describes the outer region of a star, and typically includes the portion starting from the opaque photosphere outwards
  • Stars with sufficiently low temperatures may form compound molecules in their outer atmosphere

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