SIMON TERREY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SIMON TERREY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Static electricity. View of light streamers inside a plasma globe. A plasma globe is a large glass vessel, inside which is a gas at low pressure. A voltage of static electricity is applied between the metal sphere at centre and the glass. Static discharge across the gas causes its atoms to loose their electrons, a 'plasma' state. When the nuclei and their electrons recombine, they emit a characteristic colour light. Concentrating the static charge on the glass, for example by touching it, intensifies the ionising field and results in the beautiful 'streamers' seen here.
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