DR MARK J. WINTER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR MARK J. WINTER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An electron orbital is a region around an atomic nucleus (not seen) in which one or a pair of electrons is most likely to exist. The three 5p orbitals are each made up of eight lobes, four pairs centred on the nucleus that decrease in size towards it. They are part of the 5 shell, which also contains a spherical 5s orbital at lower energy, and five 5d orbitals and seven 5f orbitals at a higher energy (not seen).
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