The study of the composition or dynamics of the gaseous layers around planets.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

0
votes
3answers
272 views

How can anything be hotter than the Sun?

I've heard that if a space shuttle enters the atmosphere from a bad angle its surface will become so hot that it will be hotter than the surface of the Sun. How can that be? It seems to an uneducated ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

How come gas molecules don't settle down?

If the earth's gravity exerts a net downward gravitational force on all air molecules, how come the molecules don't eventually lose their momentum and all settle down? How is the atmosphere is still ...
4
votes
2answers
718 views

Can extra-solar gamma rays reach the Earth's surface?

Can gamma rays of high enough energy entering our planet's atmosphere reach the surface (50% probability)? Or, in other words, is there a window for extremely high-energy gamma rays like for the ...
1
vote
0answers
18 views

What is the mean ionospheric height?

I am reading some articles about the ionosphere and I am a little bit confused about the terms mean ionospheric height and effective height of the ionosphere. Are these the same thing? I would ...
5
votes
2answers
316 views

Keeping air in a giant gravitationally-bound space balloon

Let's say a space-faring society wants to make a space station that has a large volume filled with air (or other gas), but no gravity. Using normal pressure tanks will require gathering an amount of ...
4
votes
0answers
31 views

What is the reason of the semidiurnal pressure oscillation in the atmosphere?

It appears that in many (most) places on earth, a pressure oscillation of a 100-200 Pa takes place twice a day : that is, with maxima around 12AM and 12PM and minima around 6AM and 6PM. I've found ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

What confines atmosphere around earth?

Exactly the title. There needs to be a pressure to prevent gases from perpetually expanding, right? Bear with me, I'm not a physicist or studying to be one.
2
votes
2answers
296 views

Why England is so cloudy?

Why, physically, some regions of the globe are affected by a noticeable cloudiness respect to others? Is the reason why some places are also rainy the same?
6
votes
1answer
567 views

What does the Rayleigh Phase Function tell us

I am working on some radiative transfer equations, and struggling as I'm fairly new to this field. I have read about the Rayleigh Phase Function which is: $P(\theta) = \frac{3}{4}(1 + cos^2 \theta)$ ...
7
votes
3answers
738 views

Calculating Atmospheric Pressure on an Imaginary Planet

I am planning a series of science fiction novels that take place on an imaginary binary planet system. Both planets have a lower surface gravity than the Earth and one has slightly more mass than the ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Atmospheric pressure experiment using a cup with a fluid to hold a glass plate

When I was in high school, my teacher did an experiment to show the power of atmospheric pressure. Experiment: Prepare a glass bottle, fill with water, put a glass plate on the bottle, make sure ...
-2
votes
1answer
72 views

Why do planets other than earth have colours?

I know Mars has many red rocks and mountains. But since it does not have any atmosphere, it shouldn't have any color. So, why does it appear red?
14
votes
5answers
804 views

Can Helium Disappear from Earth?

Can Helium disappear? As we know Helium is lighter than air, so basically Helium fly off from Earth. Is it possible that in the future we will run out Helium?
1
vote
1answer
48 views

What is the height of breeze/wind?

How high does a breeze/wind blow? (If you are out in the open and can feel the breeze blowing, till how high is this breeze felt?) And what are the factors that affect it?
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Need to write a function that computes the UV index

I have found a lot of people talking about how to compute the UV index, but have not found an example that shows the actual equations, so I could adapt them into an algorithm. Probably the closest ...
3
votes
1answer
270 views

How many oxygen molecules touch you in your lifetime?

Following up on a comment by BlueRaja to this beautiful answer of Ilmari Karonen, I would like to phrase this follow up question: How many air molecules hit your average human's skin during their ...
2
votes
2answers
82 views

Does gravity affect radiation incident on the planet?

Just curious ... Known facts: When outside the atmosphere levels of radiation are higher Typically such radiation is CBR, Solar Radiation Question: If the matter of the atmosphere and ...
19
votes
2answers
775 views

Are the air particles in today's wind on earth (more or less) the same as the air 2/3 billion years ago?

So the air pressure on earth remains relatively constant, right? Is there air gained or lost through transitions of any sort? e.g. plumes going out into space, earth gaining new air particles with ...
1
vote
2answers
201 views

Hot Air Balloons: how is the Lift related to environmental conditions?

I'd like to build a small hot air balloon big enough to carry 0.8kg (a camera). The first thing I need to know is: once I have a big enough plastic bag and a big enough source of fire, how much will ...
6
votes
1answer
163 views

Atmospheric Circulation

What is the simplest simulatable model giving our rotating earth its 3 circulation cells (Hadley, Ferrel, Polar)? The model should also show 1 circulation cell if the earth's rotation were stopped (or ...
0
votes
2answers
120 views

Atmosphere above huge fire areas (e.g., “fire ocean”)? [closed]

My question is more about climate sciences, but I hope that it is still related to physics. What would be possible atmospheric conditions for planet with some kind of "fire" ocean? I had some ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Jupiter: Zonal Jets in opposite directions

I recently read that the Great Red Spot arises from the shear instability of zonal flow from zonal jets travelling in opposite directions. Is there any reason why such zonal jets travel in opposite ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

How does a change in temperature affect relative humidity

Assume that the air pressure and the amount of water in the air stay constant. How can I figure out how much a change in temperature affects the relative humidity?
31
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is the sky not purple?

I realise the question of why this sky is blue is considered reasonably often here, one way or another. You can take that knowledge as given. What I'm wondering is, given that the spectrum of ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

What is the necessary amount of energy to propel a 100g from ground to orbit ? (Slingatron)

I would like to know what is the energy needed considering the air resistance to shoot from ground to the orbit a 100g object (even if it vaporizes in the process). Variables to make approx ...
42
votes
8answers
17k views

Why does the atmosphere rotate along with the earth?

I was reading somewhere about a really cheap way of travelling: using balloons to get ourselves away from the surface of the earth. The idea held that because the earth rotates, we should be ...
7
votes
4answers
8k views

How does carbon dioxide or water vapour absorb thermal infra red radiation from the sun?

We are all told at school water vapour and carbon dioxide are the top two greenhouse gases, and that they absorb thermal infra red radiation, trap heat and warm up the Earth. My question is how do ...
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between air pressure and atmospheric pressure? [closed]

I remember studying that air pressure and temperature are inversely proportional. Now I saw in book that "Atmospheric pressure decreases as we go higher and higher." But in height the temperature ...
1
vote
1answer
200 views

What's the altitude of the flat base of Cumulus clouds?

Is there a formula that describes the altitude of clouds with respect to the local temperature? I think of the flat bases of Cumulus clouds. Thanks...
4
votes
1answer
105 views

Why can spacecraft observe terrestrial gamma rays, but terrestrial observers not observe extraterrestrial galactic rays?

For the observation of solar or galactic gamma rays, one should ideally be above the atmosphere. Quoting the Wikipedia article on Gamma-ray astronomy: Most gamma rays coming from space are ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Rate of twinkling of stars

According to "Why do stars flicker?", the twinkling of stars (stellar scintillation) is caused by the thick layers of turbulent air in the Earth's atmosphere. While the explanation is convincing, it ...
2
votes
3answers
208 views

Why does the wind direction vary locally?

If the air is flowing with the earth, as it rotates, how do we feel a breeze and strong winds at times, as everyone has experienced, the wind shifts as if from many directions.
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How do you calculate vortex shedding frequency?

I am attempting to try to find out if there is any effect of Von Karman vortices on a group of wind speed readings where it is presumed that due to a mountain nearby the data collection spot Von ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Why stars twinkle but planets don't? [duplicate]

I am not from a physics background. I came to know this while studying probability? Is this because the planets are nearer than the stars so we get average behaviour rather than random. Is law of ...
3
votes
0answers
115 views

seemingly impossible query

While on an expedition to a lake, it was noticed that the wind speeds gusted violently in seemingly periodic wakes and the proposed explanation was Von Karman vortex shedding off of nearby mountains ...
7
votes
2answers
283 views

Why is getting a tan in the evening less likely than getting a tan in the morning?

When I was young I read one book in which is written that you get more tan on the morning than on evening even light angle from Sun to Earth is the same. Don't remember exact reason, I think because ...
13
votes
2answers
203 views

Why do clouds form in lumps?

What forces drive the water vapor to form the shapes every child draws? Why isn't water vapor forming an uniform mist layer consistently (which it some times does)? I have two general ideas how this ...
6
votes
0answers
122 views

Diffusion of gases in the atmosphere

Suppose that the atmosphere is composed of 21% $O_2$ and 78% $Kr$ (instead of $N_2$). Since the density of $Kr$ is greater than the density of $O_2$, the lower atmosphere (where we live) should be ...
5
votes
1answer
235 views

Where in the atmosphere is the blue light scattered?

I have searched Wikpedia and the Physics Stack Exchange archieves, and I cannot find the answer to these two related questions. If it is, please guide me to where this information is located. If ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

vertical wind gradients in the atmospheric boundary layer

I'm reading the following paper: Intercomparison of Bulk Aerodynamic Algorithms for the Computation of Sea Surface Fluxes Using TOGA COARE and TAO Data and am having trouble working through ...
6
votes
1answer
188 views

Is this a Fata Morgana?

I took this photo. Above the horizon there is a thick layer that looks like a cloud, but it surely isn't. Is this a Fata Morgana? What do you think? EDIT: I think the more appropriate name is ...
-2
votes
2answers
99 views

What processes occur when a meteor enters the atmosphere?

What processes occur when a meteor enters earth's atmosphere and then what will be speed of meteor when it encounters air resistance?
1
vote
0answers
92 views

virtual air-surface temperature difference above a water body

I'm trying to work through the equations for the following paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009JD012839/abstract and am trying to understand the concept of virtual air temperature, ...
4
votes
2answers
338 views

How is the mechanism of greenhouse gases interacting with IR radiation?

How does atmospheric CO2 and other Greenhousgases (GHG) affect the incoming (from sun) and outgoing (from earth) radiation. I understand that at certain wavenumbers (or areas of wavenumbers) in the ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Has martian sunset same spectra than this earthly bluish-violet sunset?

Has martian sunset same spectra than this earthly bluish-violet sunset? What about sunset on Mercury?
7
votes
2answers
528 views

Is the total mass of Earth's atmosphere essentially constant in time?

Per a few questions and comments on this site such as Huge buildings affect earth's rotation? I wonder, is the mass of the Earth's atmosphere roughly constant? We're burning an incredible amount ...
3
votes
1answer
658 views

Altering Venus rotational speed to match Earth's via weather manipulation

Venus rotates approximately 6.5 km an hour Earth rotates approximately 1650 km/h how fast could we speed up Venus's rotation via only weather manipulation ( maybe a giant fractal lens between Venus ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Penetration of light in the atmosphere

While I was considering an answer to this question, I wondered how much light that enters the atmosphere reaches the ground without colliding with air molecules—if any. I've taken a good bit of ...
4
votes
2answers
194 views

Attenuation mass-thickness for sunset light

We are able to look directly at the sun near sunset and sunrise, which clearly demonstrates the fact that our atmosphere attenuates visible light. Let's imagine it follows the typical attenuation ...
4
votes
1answer
288 views

Can a hovering helicopter travel half the globe in 12 hours? [duplicate]

Suppose we have a helicopter that is able to stay stationary in flight for extended periods of time. If such a helicopter stayed at point A in the sky for 12 hours straight, would it reach the other ...