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The exosphere is located too far above Earth for any meteorological phenomena to be possible.However, the aurora borealis and aurora australis sometimes occur in the lower part of the exosphere, where they overlap into the thermosphere.Because the general pattern of the temperature/altitude profile is constant and measurable by means of instrumented balloon soundings, the temperature behavior provides a useful metric to distinguish atmospheric layers.In this way, Earth's atmosphere can be divided (called atmospheric stratification) into five main layers.In general, air pressure and density decrease with altitude in the atmosphere.However, temperature has a more complicated profile with altitude, and may remain relatively constant or even increase with altitude in some regions (see the temperature section, below).The atmosphere becomes thinner and thinner with increasing altitude, with no definite boundary between the atmosphere and outer space.

The thermosphere is the second-highest layer of Earth's atmosphere.

This layer is mainly composed of extremely low densities of hydrogen, helium and several heavier molecules including nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide closer to the exobase.

The atoms and molecules are so far apart that they can travel hundreds of kilometers without colliding with one another.

It extends from the mesopause (which separates it from the mesosphere) at an altitude of about 80 km (50 mi; 260,000 ft) up to the thermopause at an altitude range of 500–1000 km (310–620 mi; 1,600,000–3,300,000 ft).

The height of the thermopause varies considerably due to changes in solar activity.