Atomic Structure

An atom is like a tiny solar system. The center is called the nucleus, made up of tiny particles called protons and neutrons. The nucleus is surrounded by clouds of other tiny particles called electrons. The electrons rotate about the nucleus in fixed paths called shells or rings.

Hydrogen has the simplest atom with one proton in the nucleus and one electron rotating around it. Copper is more complex with 29 electrons in four different rings rotating around a nucleus that has 29 protons and 29 neutrons. Other elements have different atomic structures.

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