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It tells us how much energy is being released (as light) when an electron shifts from one energy level to another, with "n" representing the energy level. We can expect the answer to be negative when energy is being released (and the electron moves closer to the nucleus) and positive when energy is being absorbed (and the electron moves away from the nucleus).
The way I thought of it was that the energy that you find using this equation is the amount of energy that the electron gives off in order to return to a previous energy level. This is why the number is typically negative as well. The energy is the amount the it gives off say from the 6th energy level to the 3rd for example.
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