# Can orbitals penetrate the same space other orbitals occupy?

Do electrons in outer orbitals penetrate orbitals occupied by lower energy electrons? If there is no electron in the orbital, do the orbitals still penetrate one another? For example, in the $\ce{Na}$ atom, only one electron is in outermost 3s orbital does the 3p orbital also penetrate the 3s?

• Can you explain what you mean? – DHMO Sep 9 '16 at 10:34
• It's orbital not orbit. – DHMO Sep 9 '16 at 10:37
• What do you mean by penetrate? "Penetration" describes the proximity to which an electron can approach the nucleus. In a multi-electron system, electron penetration is defined by an electron's relative electron density (probability density) near the nucleus of an atom. Electrons in different orbitals have different wavefunctions and therefore different radial distributions and probabilities of existing around the nucleus. Roughly speaking. – getafix Sep 19 '16 at 7:04