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So, I am studying electronic configuration but the elements of the series of the lanthanides confused me. The electronic configuration of $\ce{La}$ is $\mathrm{6s^2\,5d^1}$ and that of cerium is $\mathrm{6s^2\,5d^1\,4f^1}$.

So, why does the extra electron that was added make the $\mathrm{5d}$ orbital have a higher energy?

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