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Answer to Question #49207 in Other Physics for Trevor

Question #49207
Why does the emission spectrum of an element consist of discrete wavelengths?
Expert's answer
The emission spectrum of all elements consistsof discrete wavelengths. Electrons only exist in particular orbitals. They do
not spin willy-nilly around the nucleus. If they receive energy, they jump from
one orbital to a higher orbital. When they fall back to a lower orbital, they
give off a discrete amount of energy. That discrete amount of energy comes as
the form of light of a particular wavelength. Look at it as an electron having
to be on one or another step instead of a ramp. Instead of continually rolling,
it goes one step at a time.

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