In a hydrogen atom only 1s orbital is filled. Does this mean that the energies of all other orbitals are equal? If so,why?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you think that your hypothesis (all unoccupied orbitals have equal energy) is also valid for a hydrogen molecule? If so, how would you then explain the Lyman and Paschen series in the UV spectrum of this molecule? $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Mar 22 '15 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ A better question is: Which of these is real - the orbital or the electron? What has energy, the orbital or the electron in the orbital? If it is the electron that has energy, then the energy of an empty orbital is an undefinable quantity. $\endgroup$ – Ben Norris Mar 22 '15 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ In response of the comment above, the energy is of the system, not of electrón $\endgroup$ – user1420303 Mar 22 '15 at 13:05

Sure, if they are unoccupied they contribute nothing to the total energy of the system. Remember that orbitals are mathematical constructs and only have meaning with regard to their energy when being physically occupied by an electron that adheres this mathematical description. The energy required to fill such an orbital however differs (vastly) from orbital to orbital and nucleus to nucleus (see for example http://www.colby.edu/chemistry/PChem/notes/AOIE.pdf).

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