Atomic orbitals are the quantum states of the individual electrons in the electron cloud around a single atom.
Specifically, atomic orbitals are the quantum states of the individual electrons in the electron cloud around a single atom.
Classically, the electrons were thought to orbit the atomic nucleus, much like the planets around the Sun (or more accurately, a moth orbiting very quickly around a lamp).
However electrons cannot be described as solid particles (as a planet or a moth), so a more accurate comparison would be that of a (huge) atmosphere (the spatially distributed electron) around a (tiny) planet (the nucleus).
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