What Is the Difference Between an Orbit and an Orbital?

Astronomy, Physics
[caption id="attachment_15523" align="alignright" width="440"] A 5-D atomic orbital, m=5[/caption] Although words can have multiple meanings, we will consider only the difference between an orbit and an orbital, the path of planets and that of electrons in atoms. Planets (and other astronomy objects) travel in orbits. Jupiter and Haley’s Comet orbit the Sun. Electrostatic forces and selection rules hold electrons in specific atomic orbitals. What is an Orbit? Orbits are generally elliptical in shape. Ellipses are circles that are stretched out along one axis. The degree of stretching is termed eccentricity.  The greater the stretch, the greater the eccentricity. Consider the figure below for comparison. The object doing the orbiting travels strictly in the path of the orbit. It does not deviate. In this respect, orbits of astronomical objects are different…
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Scale Independent Math Expressions for Physical Processes

[caption id="attachment_4949" align="alignright" width="440"] Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232 - ESO[/caption] Scientists seek the ability to explain all physical processes by means of single math expressions independent of scale—from the subatomic to the astronomic. Is that possible? There are also physics anomalies. Or, perhaps, they are best described as dichotomies. For example, light is known to act sometimes as a particle, sometimes as a wave. Can these two behaviors be reconciled into one, describable using one mathematical expression? I believe the answer in both instances is, Yes. Perhaps I feel so because historically scientists have believed there should be simplicity in the laws of nature. Disclaimer: The author, though not an unintelligent man, does have moments when his mental prowess can be more closely described as bone-headed. This may be one…
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