30 March 2017

Difference between orbit and orbital

The orbit and orbit of the two comparable terms often confuse individuals. You must have seen in pictures that an atom is simple, in which electrons are like our planets revolving around a nucleus which may be considered as our sun. Actually, the truth is much more complex. 
Orbits and orbital are different paths of atoms. In this article, let us have a deep insight into the difference between those two similar types of term orbit and orbital.

Orbit :

  • Orbit is a fixed circular path, described by a moving electron around a nucleus.
  • There is an orbit for any two bodies with a certain mass.
  • It has a two-dimensional representation.
  • The position and velocity of a moving electron, in an orbit, can be calculated with great accuracy.
  • The distance of the orbit from the nucleus for a given electron is fixed.
  • The movement of an electron in an orbit is known definitely.
  • The maximum capacity of any orbit is 2nelectrons, where n is the number of orbits.
  • All orbits are circular and disc-like.
  • The concept of the well-defined orbit is against Heisenberg's principle. 
  • Orbits are non-directional which is why they can't shape of the molecule.
  • An orbit shows an exact position of an electron within an atom.
  • Orbits are the definite paths that a moving object traces out.

Orbital :
  • Orbital is a three-dimensional region in space around the nucleus, where there is a maximum probability of finding an electron.
  • An orbital exists only for an atom and an electron.
  • It has a three-dimensional representation.
  • The position and velocity of moving electrons, in an orbital, can be determined within the limits of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
  • It is impossible to know the exact trajectory of an electron in an orbital of an atom.
  • Only the probability of finding an electron can be traced with the help of Heisenberg's principle.
  • The maximum capacity of any orbital is two electrons.
  • Orbital may be spherical (s), dumb-bell (p) and so on in shape.
  • The concept of the well-defined orbital is in agreement with Heisenberg's principle.
  • Orbitals have a directional character that is why they can account for the shapes of molecules.
  • It does not specify an exact position of an electron.
  • Orbitals are the regions where the object is likely to be found or move about.

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