In most atoms, electrons occupy a zone exterior to the nucleus. Though electrons are often represented as particles in discreet orbits around the nucleus, they cannot be said to occupy a specific point in space. Rather, their position can be described as a wave function.
The exterior shell of the atom is not the only place electrons can be found in an atom. Though the electron shell is the only stable location for electrons, a heavy atom that undergoes beta decay can emit an electron from its nucleus. To avoid confusion, electrons emitted by the nucleus are referred to as beta particles.Learn More
An atom is comprised of a central portion called a nucleus that contains protons and neutrons. Electrons orbit the nucleus and are typically found in a one-to-one ratio with protons. Different stable atomic configurations are called elements. Hydrogen is unique in having one proton, one electron and no neutrons.Full Answer >
The atomic number of an atom represents the number of protons found in the nucleus of that atom. Elements are identified by their atomic numbers because each element has a different number of protons in its nucleus.Full Answer >
Carbon has six protons in its nucleus, so its atomic number is six. It also has six neutrons in its nucleus and typically has six electrons as well.Full Answer >
A nitrogen atom's appearance consists of a nucleus that's surrounded by one orbital containing two electrons and a second orbital containing five electrons. The total number of electrons in one atom of nitrogen can be determined by the location of nitrogen on the periodic table of elements.Full Answer >