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Many people write to this web site asking for pictures of atoms. Unfortunately atoms are much smaller than the wavelength of light, so we cannot take photographs of them. If we use radiation short enough to take a photograph, like X rays, their energy destroys the atom!

The best we can do is draw a picture of what we THINK atoms look like. Many of them they would look like round balls. For others the orbitals are very complex, and we want to try to keep this story as simple as possible without actually telling lies. We are trying to give a feeling for the whole history of the Universe rather than give a detailed explanation about any one part of it. The pictures of molecules give a good idea of what atoms look like.

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