Apparently my info was wrong.
When the atom absorbs a photon, the electron jumps from let's say for example from the 2s to a 3p orbital, the electron is not in any orbital during that time. Its wave function can be written as a time-varying mix of the normal orbitals. A long time before the absorption, which for an atom is a few femtoseconds or so, this mix is 100% of the 2s state, and a few femtoseconds or so after the absorption, it's 100% the 3p state. Between, during the absorption process, it's a mix of many orbitals with wildly changing coefficients. There was a paper in Physical Review A back around 1980 or 1981, iirc, that shows some plots and pictures and went into this in some detail. Maybe it was Reviews of Modern Physics. Anyway, keep in mind that this mixture is just a mathematical description. What we really have is a wavefunction changing from a steady 2s, to a wildly boinging-about wobblemess, settling to a steady 3p.
This makes more sense, ty.
Edited by EdEarl, 12 January 2017 - 12:40 AM.