In Rutherford's experiment to show the existence of nucleus in an atom, the alpha-particles were exposed on the surface of certain metal i.e. gold. He observed that more than 99% of these particles were able to go straight and pass through the gold atoms. Thus he was able to conclude that atoms are mainly empty space.
But why did these particles not collide with the electrons present in the gold atoms? I think that the reason behind it is that the speed of the electrons travelling in orbits did not cause any obstacle in the travelling path of the alpha particles.