Cool Science – 02/20/2012

By Scott Sarvay

March 2, 2012 Updated Mar 2, 2012 at 3:44 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - In this week's episode of Cool Science Monday, Martin Fisher from Science Central talks about gases and explains what a Plasma Globe is.

A Plasma Globe or Plasma Sphere is often seen in science museum exhibits, in sci-fi movies, and less expensive ones can also be purchased at novelty shops or department stores.

They're a glass sphere filled with a gas. The gas is an element from the Periodic Table of Elements, one of the Noble Gases. Usually Neon, but can also have Krypton (expensive), Argon, Helium, and/or Xenon. A high-voltage electrical device in the center of the machine sends electrical current through the gas, turning it into a plasma (a highly charged and energized gas). The bright blue/purple/pink strands that one can see in the Sphere are strands of plasma. When a person touches the glass ball, the streamers are attracted to their hand, because it acts like a conductor of the electricity.

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