>
> I think so too. I barely touch the tube and it comes on. I'd like to hear
> an EE's or physicists explanation of the electronics involved.


Electric fields.  Fluorescent tubes are basically insulators when cold, one
of the jobs of the ballast/starter system is to induce a very high voltage,
enough to start a trickle of current running.  This 'primes the pump', so
to speak, and the conductance of the tube goes up in a runaway cascade
after that.  The other job of the ballast is to current-limit the bulb so
it doesn't burn up.  (Basically lowers the voltage until the current
through the bulb is the rated value.)

Anyway, it all starts with a high-voltage tickle.  Touching it halfway
along gives it a place to start conducting, and/or applies a static charge
that helps get things rolling.  Or so I believe in this case.

-- Jim
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