The thin line of Earth's atmosphere and the setting sun are featured in this image photographed by the crew of the International Space Station while space shuttle Atlantis was docked with the station in 2009. NASA
Most ISS images are nadir, in which the center point of the image is directly beneath the lens of the camera, but this one is not. This highly oblique image of northwestern African captures the curvature of the Earth and shows its atmosphere. The Earth's atmosphere is composed of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and 1 percent other constituents, and it shields us from nearly all harmful radiation coming from the sun and other stars. It also protects us from meteors, most of which burn up before they can strike the planet. NASA/JPL/UCSD/JSC
On Dec. 3, 2002, people in Australia received a rare 32-second celestial show as the moon completely obscured the sun, creating a ring of light. Solar eclipses provide experts an opportunity to study the sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona. NASA/ESA
An artist's impression of the Galileo probe descending into Jupiter's atmosphere. The probe was the first to sample the atmosphere of a gas planet. It measured temperature, pressure, chemical composition, cloud characteristics, sunlight and energy internal to the planet, and lightning. During its 58-minute life, the probe penetrated about 125 miles into Jupiter's violent atmosphere before it was crushed, melted, and/or vaporized by the pressure and temperature of the atmosphere. NASA
Encircled in purple stratospheric haze, Titan appears as a softly glowing sphere in this colorized image taken one day after Cassini's first flyby of that moon. This image shows two thin haze layers. The outer haze layer is detached and appears to float high in the atmosphere. The image has been falsely colored: The globe of Titan retains the pale orange hue our eyes usually see, and both the main atmospheric haze and the thin detached layer have been brightened and given a purple color to enhance their visibility. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
This photograph taken from Voyager I, shows the area east of Jupiter's Great Red Spot. The dark halo surrounding the bright spot, just to the right of the bright oval, is a region of the atmosphere warmer than those around it. The dark halo may represent an area in which we are looking deeper into Jupiter's atmosphere, although not yet completely understood. NASA/Ames Research Center
This photographic mosaic of images from NASA's Galileo spacecraft covers an area of about 20,000 by 13,000 miles in Jupiter's equatorial region. The dark region near the center of the mosaic is an equatorial 'hotspot' similar to the site where the Galileo Probe parachuted into Jupiter's atmosphere in December 1995. These features are holes in the bright, reflective, equatorial cloud layer where heat from Jupiter's deep atmosphere can pass through. NASA
A recent Hubble Space Telescope view reveals Uranus surrounded by its four major rings and by 10 of its 17 known satellites. The orange-colored clouds near the prominent bright band circle the planet at more than 300 mph, according to team member Heidi Hammel. One of the clouds on the right-hand side is brighter than any other cloud ever seen on Uranus. The colors in the image indicate altitude. Erich Karkoschka (University of Arizona) and NASA
Cassini has found Titan's upper atmosphere to consist of a surprising number of layers of haze, as shown in this ultraviolet image of Titan's night side limb, colorized to look like true color. The many fine haze layers extend several hundred kilometers above the surface. Although this is a night side view, with only a thin crescent receiving direct sunlight, the haze layers are bright from light scattered through the atmosphere. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Small dark storms on Saturn like these generally get stretched out until they merge with the opposing currents to the north and south. These little storms are the food that sustains the larger atmospheric features, including the larger ovals and the eastward and westward currents. If the little storms come from the giant thunderstorms, then together they form a food chain that harvests the energy of the deep atmosphere and helps maintain the powerful currents. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
The motion of water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere was observed from the GOES series of Earth-observing satellites. NASA
Rowland was among three scientists awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for chemistry for explaining how the ozone is formed and decomposed through chemical processes in the atmosphere.
Associated Press /
March 12, 2012
F. Sherwood Rowland, the Nobel prize-winning chemist who sounded the alarm on the thinning of the Earth's ozone layer and crusaded against the use of man-made chemicals that were harming earth's atmospheric blanket, has died. He was 84.