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The absorptivity of selected gases of the atmosphere and the atmosphere as a whole. The atmosphere as a whole is quite transparent to solar radiation between 0.3 and 0.7 micrometer, which includes the band of visible light. Most solar radiation falls in this range, explaining why a large amount of solar radiation penetrates the atmosphere and heats Earth’s surface. Also, note that longwave infrared radiation in the zone between 8 and 12 micrometers can escape the atmosphere most readily. This zone is called the atmospheric window.