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I bought a couple of plasma flashers when the prices dropped. The high frequency high voltage source easily ionizes the low pressure gas inside the glass sphere. A florescent bulb held near the flasher will light between your hand and the end closest to the flasher. Yes, you are part of the circuit (very low current, fortunately).  


I like to tell the story about my son, who was asked by his middle school science teacher to weigh light. Holding one end of a florescent bulb in one hand and the other end near a hidden plasma flasher, I say, “Here I have a lit florescent bulb that is not plugged in.  You should weigh it with the light inside.”  Then I touch the bulb with my other hand and sweep that hand down towards the plasma flasher saying, “Then just squeeze the light out of the bulb and weigh it again.”

Plasma

Flashers

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