Plasmas can be formed at any temperature.
A plasma is an ionized gas that consists of free electrons and positive ions.
Thermal plasmas are created by heating a gas to extremely high temperatures, as in stars.
Nonthermal plasmas can be formed by subjecting a gas to a strong electromagnetic field, such as from a microwave, a laser, or an electrical discharge.
Some examples of artificially produced plasmas are:
- Magnetic fusion plasmas (100 000 000 K)
- Plasma screens in TV sets
- Fluorescent lamps
- Neon signs
The gas inside this neon sign is a plasma.
Two examples of natural plasmas on Earth are:
- The Northern (and Southern) Lights
- Lightning (30 000 K)
The gas inside this lightning bolt is a plasma.
Two examples of plasmas in space are:
- The solar wind
This nearby star is a mass of plasma (only 6000 K at the surface, but 15 000 000 K in the interior).
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