A plasma globe or plasma lamp (also called plasma ball, dome, sphere, tube or orb, depending on shape), is (usually) a clear glass orb filled with a mixture of various noble gases with a high-voltage electrode in the center of the sphere. Plasma filaments extend from the inner electrode to the outer glass insulator, giving the appearance of multiple constant beams of colored light (see corona discharge and electric glow discharge). Plasma globes were most popular as novelty items in the 1980s.
The plasma lamp was invented by Nikola Tesla after his experimentation with high-frequency currents in an evacuated glass tube for the purpose of studying high voltage phenomena, but the modern versions were first designed by Bill Parker. Tesla called this invention an inert gas discharge tube.
I did not know Tesla invented these. Cool.
Last weekend we took the kids to the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge. We saw a bunch of these and bought a toy version in the gift shop.
Previous WOTD – Success Theater