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earth science 21 - Prof Jerry W Kousen Vincennes University...

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Prof. Jerry W. Kousen ERTH 100 Vincennes University Intro to Earth Science Composition of Earth’s Atmosphere Earth's Atmosphere The Earth is surrounded by a blanket of air, which we call the atmosphere. It reaches over 560 kilometers (348 miles) from the surface of the Earth, so we are only able to see what occurs fairly close to the ground. Early attempts at studying the nature of the atmosphere used clues from the weather, the beautiful multi-colored sunsets and sunrises, and the twinkling of stars. With the use of sensitive instruments from space, we are able to get a better view of the functioning of our atmosphere. Life on Earth is supported by the atmosphere, solar energy, and our planet's magnetic fields. The atmosphere absorbs the energy from the Sun, recycles water and other chemicals, and works with the electrical and magnetic forces to provide a moderate climate. The atmosphere also protects us from high-energy radiation and the frigid vacuum of space.
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