The element neon is found in the atmosphere and outer space. Neon is a gas, and while it is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, it is a rare gas in the atmosphere. Neon represents only 18 parts per million of air.
Neon was discovered by two chemists, William Ramsay and Morris Travers, in 1898. The element is extracted from the air through liquefaction and is separated from other elements by fractional distillation. In a vacuum discharge tube, neon glows a bright red-orange and is most commonly used in neon advertising signs. The biological role of neon is unknown, but it is non-toxic to humans.