Bill Nye the Science Guy’s “Atmosphere” episode is a breath of fresh air.

The air that surrounds Earth is called the atmosphere. Compared to the size of the Earth, the atmosphere is very, very thin. It’s made from gases – mainly nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor, with a little argon, carbon dioxide, xenon, neon, helium, and sulfur. The atmosphere does a lot for Earth. It blocks ultraviolet light and burns up a lot of meteors. It traps in heat, keeping Earth cozy. Even clouds are formed in the atmosphere – keeping the Earth wet with rain.

Bill Nye’s not just breezing by – he’s here to stay.

The Big Idea

  • The atmosphere is the thin layer of air that surrounds the Earth.
  • The atmosphere protects the Earth and keeps it warm and wet.

Did You Know That?

  • If you could fit the atmosphere on a scale, it would weigh 5.6 million billion tons?
  • All weather is made in the atmosphere?
  • Hailstones form in the atmosphere from layers of snow and ice?

Books of Science!

  • “The First Book of Air: A Basic Guide to the Earth’s Atmosphere” by David Knight. Published by Franklin Watts, 1961.
  • “How Did We Find Out About the Atmosphere?” by Isaac Asimov. Published by Walker and Company, 1985.