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A method for the determination of electron temperature and plasma density in high pressure helium plasmas is established using numerical results of the continuum probe model by Cohen [Phys. Fluids 6, 1492 (1963)]. Simple algebraic functions are derived to approximate the probe characteristics of high pressure plasmas calculated by Cohen and are applied to use iterative procedures for the determination of plasma parameters. The proposed fitting technique has allowed one to obtain reasonable plasma parameters even for the probe characteristics strongly affected by large secondary electron emission currents from the probe. Fitting of the ion saturation current may possibly be used to estimate the ion temperature, provided that the electron temperature and plasma density are known. Finally high pressure helium microwave discharges have been produced by moderate microwave power of 400 W and investigated by the present method. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.