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I Can one electron emit 3 colors at once?

  1. Jul 12, 2018 #1
    When light is shown through hydrogen gas, three colors of light appear. The issue I have with this is that hydrogen has one electron, meaning somehow the electron has to be emitting all three of these colors simultaneously. This, however, would be impossible since a single electron can only make one orbital jump at a time, which in turn means one electron can only emit one color at a time, not three. If anyone can offer an explanation, I welcome it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2018 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Typically there is more than one molecule of hydrogen gas in the container.
  4. Jul 12, 2018 #3


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    This is puzzling. You shine light through a hydrogen gas? Where did you see this?

    And then you got ONLY 3 colors of light out?

    I am guessing that you are reading something or seeing something, and then interpreting it this way. It will be VERY helpful if you cite your source clearly, because to me, you are misunderstanding this.

    And as Dale has said, a hydrogen gas consists of a HUGE number of hydrogen molecules. There is nothing here to say that they are all emitting the same wavelength upon excitation.

    BTW, @IAmAnthony : it would be nice if you acknowledge responses you received in threads and questions that you asked. Many of us spent time and effort to address your question, and when you simply ignore responses addressed to you, not only is it impolite, but we also do not know if you've understood what you've been given.


  5. Jul 12, 2018 #4
    What do you mean with "shown through"? Emission, transmission or something else?

    What do you mean with hydrogen gas? Hydrogen atoms or molecules?

    I guess with the "three colors of light" you mean red, green blue. But there would be at least the four colors of the visible part of the Balmer series.

    A single hydrogen atom or a H2+ ion has one electron. A H+ ion (also known as proton) has no electron. A neutral hydrogen molecule has two electrons and hydrogen gas many more (as Dale already mentioned above). That's why you need to specify what you mean with hydrogen or hydrogen gas and what kind process you are talking about.
  6. Jul 12, 2018 #5


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    The fourth one ("deep violet") can be difficult to see, if you don't have a bright source and a very dark viewing background, as is often the case with a cheap student spectroscope.
  7. Jul 12, 2018 #6
    It's been brought to my attention that I failed to properly commend all of you who have answered my questions. Therefore, I'm correcting my mistake with this comment. Thank you for taking the time and energy to answer my questions.
  8. Jul 12, 2018 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    Well, I guess a form letter is better than nothing. It seems you are too busy to bother actually participating in your thread.

    Me too.
  9. Jul 13, 2018 #8
    Unfortunately, I haven't been completely honest in my question. You see, when I wrote this question I was not seeking an answer but rather a debate. I am a skeptic about today's model of the atom, and this post was an elusive way around the rules of no debating theories. I was arrogant in how I treated you all and deceptive. I don't know if I'll get banned because of my actions, but if so, then I've gotten what I deserve. With that said, I wish you all to know that I am truly sorry for the way I've treated you all. Not only was it not right, but it was indecent.
  10. Jul 14, 2018 #9


    Staff: Mentor

    Thanks for being so honest here. In general, we are here to help students with STEM related questions. We shy away from fringe science and debate because it leads to confusion among our other members and in the longer term is not good for their studies.

    We do like questions and do try to answer them so if you are debating them within your own mind and ask questions to help with your own understanding then that would work and is consistent with our principles here.

    Thanks again for being so honest.

    With that said and the original question answered then I think it time to thank everyone for contributing and time to close this thread.
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