Earth’s unique atmosphere shields humans
from the Sun’s dangerous rays, as well as providing oxygen and water.



  • the gases held around Earth by its gravity make up the atmosphere.
  • every planet in the Solar System has an atmosphere.
  • each atmosphere is very different – Earth’s atmosphere is the only one that humans can breathe.
  • atmosphere are not fixed – but can change rapidly.
  • moons are generally too small – their gravity is too weak to have an atmosphere; however few moons have one, including Saturn’s moon – Titan.
  • earliest primordial atmosphere came from the clouds of gas and dust surrounding the young Sun.
  • if Earth and the rocky planets had primordial atmosphere – they were stripped away by the solar wind (see – solar eruptions).
  • our Earth’s atmosphere was first formed from gases pouring out of volcanoes. (diagram)
  • Jupiter’s atmosphere is partly primordial – it has been altered by the Sun’s radiation, and the planet’s own internal heat and lightning storms. (more information about `Atmosphere of Jupiter`.)


Did you know?

  • The oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere was formed entirely by planets. (diagram)


Back to The Solar System page.

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