Surprise! Earth’s Atmosphere Extends Far Beyond the Moon

A cloud of hydrogen atoms called the geocorona exists where Earth’s atmosphere bleeds into outer space. New research suggests that this cloud extends far beyond the orbit of the moon, reaching up to 390,000 miles (630,000 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. (Image: © ESA)
Tiny wisps of Earth air stretch way out into deep space, far beyond the moon’s orbit, a new study suggests.

By Mike Wall |

Earth’s „geocorona“ — a tenuous cloud of hydrogen atoms — extends up to 390,000 miles (630,000 kilometers) into space, according to the new research. For perspective: The moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 239,000 miles (384,600 km).

„The moon flies through Earth’s atmosphere,“ study lead author Igor Baliukin, of Russia’s Space Research Institute, said in a statement. „We were not aware of it until we dusted off observations made over two decades ago by the SOHO spacecraft.“ [Earth Quiz: Do You Really Know Your Planet?]

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