The study of the composition or dynamics of the gaseous layers around planets. See also [Earth Science Stack Exchange](http://earthscience.stackexchange.com).

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

13
votes
2answers
231 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
108 views

Local real-time lightning tracker site?

Is there a site that tracks lightning strikes at a local level in real-time? Google results for "lightning tracker" yield several sites, but none do this. It seems easy enough to set up. Have ...
1
vote
1answer
69 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
135 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
283 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
88 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
217 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
118 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
102 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, ...
5
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
811 views

How is it that the Earth's atmosphere is not “blown away”?

The Earth moves at a high rate of speed around the Sun, and the solar system is moving quickly around the Milky Way. How is it that the Earth's atmosphere is not “blown away”?
7
votes
2answers
654 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
113 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
107 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?
0
votes
3answers
328 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
246 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
312 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
174 views

What if Felix Baumgartner went the other way?

How much harder would it have been for Felix to use some powered sled and head for the ISS when he stepped out of his capsule? He was already above most of the atmosphere. BTW, Is that capsule still ...
1
vote
2answers
779 views

Is it possible to calculate atmospheric pressure if given temperature (F) and elevation?

I am working on a report at work and need to determine the atmospheric pressure for small intervals over a 24 hour period. Searching Google, I've found charts which give a base pressure of 14.65 psia ...
10
votes
5answers
811 views

Can low-gravity planets sustain a breathable atmosphere?

If astronauts could deliver a large quantity of breathable air to somewhere with lower gravity, such as Earth's moon, would the air form an atmosphere, or would it float away and disappear? Is there a ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

Sensors for Greenhouse Study

A group and I have the opportunity to design a payload that will be sent up some 100,000 ft (~ 30 km) into the atmosphere for approximately 3 hours. In our design, we were going to include gas sensors ...
1
vote
1answer
147 views

Equations for the two-plane model of the greenhouse effect

I'm trying to understand this "toy model" of the greenhouse effect. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/learning-from-a-simple-model The model predicts the surface temperature of ...
3
votes
0answers
54 views

Special conditions at layer F2 ionosphere

I saw this graph about the electrons density in different altitudes and difference between night and day, the difference between the 2 electron densities (day and night) decreases till 300 Km (F2 ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Term for “atmospheric ricochet” due to wrong “angle-of-attack”

I watched "Apollo 13" yesterday, and they had the "angle-of-attack" problem that had to be manually solved, to prevent the ship from "ricochet[ing] off the atmosphere like a rock skipping off a pond". ...
2
votes
1answer
367 views

What is the cause of orange sky glow?

I live in the Netherlands and recently I have been seeing an orange glow in the sky at night, in the northwestern direction. What is the cause of this? And why is it in the northwestern direction (I ...
3
votes
0answers
33 views

Surface UV exposure with cooler star

If the sun's surface was ~ 4000K (and earth closer to compensate), the UV component of the radiation would be less. However, UV makes ozone via photolysis of oxygen. Also, the stratosphere would ...
6
votes
1answer
175 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
101 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
483 views

Minimum size of an asteroid to actually impact earth

From what I understand, an object entering the atmosphere will start to burn up from the tremendous resistance of the atmosphere. Presumably, for asteroids under a certain size, they will burn up ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

Is the Earth's atmosphere a Faraday cage?

X-ray telescopes are required to be above the atmosphere as the atmosphere blocks EM waves with wavelengths < UV . Does this mean that the Earth's atmosphere can be thought of as a Faraday cage ...
20
votes
4answers
404 views

Why is lightning more rare during snow storms than rain storms?

Lightning and thunder during a snow storm is uncommon. As far as I know, more uncommon than during a typical rain storm. Why is this? I speculate it might be one, or both, of the following two ...
10
votes
2answers
489 views

Energy from man-made tornadoes

Peter Thiel just paid $300,000 to Canadian inventor Louis Michaud who is working to construct useful "man-made tornadoes" or "atmospheric vortex engines" which could be components of future power ...
16
votes
2answers
540 views

How deep is the Great Red Spot?

The Great Red Spot (GRS) is a very persistent storm system that's easily visible through a telescope on the surface of Jupiter. But what is the three-dimensional structure of the GRS, and how deep ...
2
votes
0answers
166 views

What is the critical mass of a planet to have an atmosphere like Earth's?

Small planets/orbits like Moon cannot have atmosphere because of their masses. They don't have enough gravity to hold an atmosphere. Then what is the critical mass that makes enough gravity to keep an ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does the sun “shine brighter” some days?

Today, the sun seems extremely bright; more dazzling than usual, and even the roads seem to be brighter so it's not just when you look up in the sky. Is more light actually getting through (perhaps ...
9
votes
1answer
390 views

What causes a ring-like image around light of the moon?

I just encountered an interesting image in sky. As you can see in following images there was a ring-like image around light of the moon. I don't know if it was clouds but it was looking like it is far ...
0
votes
1answer
164 views

What caused Simon Faithfull's chair to fall appart?

There is an art/science video clip on youtube, by Simon Faithful, called Escape Vehicle no.6 (chair in space). It shows a simple steel office chair, tied to a weather balloon, ascending into the upper ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

image distortion when taking a picture from space

I'm trying to understand if there is a distortion of an image taken from space (i.e. from a satellite), and if there is, then how to model it mathematically (depending on the angle in which we take ...
6
votes
2answers
229 views

Is it possible to use a balloon to float so high in the atmosphere that you can be gravitationally pulled towards a satellite?

A recent joke on the comedy panel show 8 out of 10 cats prompted this question. I'm pretty sure the answer's no, but hopefully someone can surprise me. If you put a person in a balloon, such that ...
3
votes
2answers
154 views

Can wind currents form in the mesosphere?

Probably not the right forum for this question. How high in the atmosphere may an air-current form? Can a wind current form up in the mesosphere?
7
votes
4answers
7k views

Why less temperature at high altitude

Why there is always cold at high altitudes. e.g. at peak of mountains. Also as we go high from see level, temperature starts decreasing, so why is it.
12
votes
1answer
4k views

Did Felix Baumgartner produce a sonic boom during his jump?

I really got to thinking about this. The speed of sound is measured at 761.2 MPH at sea level. But how does this number change as air density decreases? The lack of air density is what allowed his ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

How far does typical view of clouds/atmosphere extend?

The specific "sub questions" I'm asking are: When you are looking at clouds just on the horizon, how far away would they be? How wide (in km) is that total field of vision at roughly cloud height. ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

From how high could have Felix Baumgartner jumped without disintegrating like a shooting star?

Today Felix Baumgartner jumped from 39 kilometres high and reached the earth safely. Just considering friction, from how high can a human jump? I expect that from a certain height, he would have ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the phrase “limb of the earth” or “atmospheric limb” mean?

What does the term limb of the earth (see this question, for example) or atmospheric limb mean? The phrase strikes me as very odd, since earth is nearly spherical. Do other planets with atmospheres ...
2
votes
2answers
181 views

Loopy lightning

What causes lightning to follow the path it does ? picture from BBC news: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/62891000/jpg/_62891901_untitled-1copy.jpg main page: ...
1
vote
0answers
132 views

Digital camera as a measurement device [closed]

It is know that digital camera is not the best device for quantitative measurements. However, it is often used in all sorts of atmospheric physics research, maily due to: Low cost and availability. ...
0
votes
1answer
535 views

Atmospheric Escape of Gas Molecules

Most of the Bodies and Objects in space are likely to have an atmosphere. Since the space is empty, the gases in atmosphere should have either dissolved or emptied into space. But, Why doesn't this ...
8
votes
2answers
535 views

Why doesn't the percentage of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere diminish significantly with altitude?

According to numerous sources online, the percentage of oxygen is approximately the same at sea level and 10,000 meters. Since oxygen is heavier than nitrogen, shouldn't the percentage of oxygen ...