Orbit and Orbital

Orbit: An orbit is a well defined path around the nucleus where the electron revolves. All the orbits are circular in shape and have fixed radius. There are infinite numbers of orbits in an atom. Orbit does not shows directional characters. The maximum electrons that a orbit can accommodate is given by 2n2 rule.

Orbital: It is the three dimensional space around nucleus where the possibility of finding an electron is maximum. Orbitals can accommodate two electrons with paired spins. There are altogether of 4 orbitals namely S, P, D and F.


  • It is spherical in shape.
  • It is non-directional.
  • Electrons in s-orbital are uniformly distributed.
  • It has nother node point nor nodal plane.
  • It can accommodate 2 electrons.


Note: The point at which finding of electron is null or zero is called node point. And the plane passing through node point is called nodal plane.


  • It is dumb bell shaped.
  • It is directional i.e., oriented in three directions.
  • P-orbital has there sub orbitals. They are:Px, Py, Pz.
  • It can accommodate a total of six electrons.

D orbital:

  • It is a double dumpbell shaped.
  • It is directional.
  • It has five sub orbitals. i.e., dxy, dyz, dzx, dx2y2 and dz2.
  • It has node point and nodal plane.
  • D-orbital can accommodate 10 electrons.

F-orbital: The shape of f-orbital is not known yet but maximum number of electrons that f-orbital can accommodate is 14. Even f-orbital shows directional character.

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