Where can hydrogen’s one electron be found in its lowest energy configuration?
within a conical space surrounding the nucleus
attached to the nucleus
within a spherical space surrounding the nucleus
within the nucleus
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No. 1 is your answer!
Actually I am pretty sure that the s orbital would be a spherical space and not conical
Welcome to OpenStudy @gisell79! :D
This is actually a tricky enough question and one that takes a little bit of time to consider. Firstly, we need to consider an atom of hydrogen. This atom contains 1 proton (positively charged particle) sitting inside the nucleus at the centre of the atom. It also contains 1 electron (negatively charged) which is orbiting the nucleus and is held there by the electrostatic attraction between itself and the oppositely charged nucleus. We refer to the regions in which we can find electrons as they orbit around the nucleus as 'orbitals'. These are regions in the space around the nucleus in which there is some defined probability of finding a given electron.
With any atom, the electrons it contains are 'filled' into the orbitals of lowest energy available. By lowest energy, we are referring to the orbitals in which the electron can be 'closest' to the oppositely charged nucleus so that it has the greatest attraction towards it and is at its most stable. In defining the lowest energy orbital, we are looking at the principal quantum number, n, (i.e. the 'shell' the electron is in) assigned to the orbital and indeed its shape.
The value of n depends on the period (or row) of the Periodic Table where the atoms we are dealing with sits. For hydrogen, it sits in the first row of the periodic table (alongside Helium) and so for its electron, n = 1. That means that only 1 type/shape of orbital exists for hydogen's 1 electron to be filled into....that is what we call an s-orbital.
An s-orbital is spherically shaped region around the nucleus of the atom in which our electron is located. In total, it can hold 2 electrons. Because we are dealing with the n = 1 energy level, we refer to it as a 1s orbital.
For other atoms, their electronic configurations will see the electrons being filled into different orbitals, perhaps of different shapes and at different energy levels. Here's a couple of quick articles I found which give a simple but really good introduction into the shape of atomic orbitals, how they're filled and how we define them based on this idea of quantum numbers:
Hope that helped you out a bit! In my opinion this whole concept of orbital theory and how electrons are filled into different orbitals is probably one of the most difficult to get for anyone seeing it for the first time. This is largely due to how theoretical it is, so don't worry if you can understand this first time around. Over time you'll hopefully see how the atoms in the Periodic Table are actually arranged based on this idea of what orbitals the electrons, in particular the outer electrons, are sitting. Best of luck :)