Question on emission spectraWatch
I'm asking because I'm reasonably sure that hydrogen atoms have only n=1 energy levels, but the spectrum contains transitions to n=2 and n=3, and others from n=4 and n=5! What do these transitions represent in the hydrogen atoms?
Because only certain energy levels are allowed (see: Quantum mechanics!) you only see these transitions at specific energies.
Yes, an electron can absolutely be in the n=2 level while n=1 is empty. 'In' makes it sound like the orbital is something physical/tangible - it isn't! All an orbital is, is a way of describing where an electron is around an atom that are acceptable solutions to the Schrödinger equation.
Particles at a subatomic level behave like nothing we can visualize!!