We derive the electrostatic screening effect from first principles and show the basic properties of the screening process. We in particular show that under the conditions prevailing in the Sun the number of particles in the Debye sphere is of the order of unity. Consequently, fluctuations play a dominant role in the screening process. The fluctuations lead to an effective time dependent potential. Particles with low kinetic energy lose on the average energy to the plasma and vice versa with high energy particles. We derive general conditions on the screening energy and show under what conditions the Salpeter approximation is obtained. The connection between the screening and relaxation processes in the plasma is exposed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
G.S. is happy to acknowledge a discussion with M. Fisher about fluctuations. research was partly supported by the Asher space research institute at the Technion.