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Physics of Mirrors



blog-0300162001368756156.jpgToday, while looking in the mirror, I suddenly became very curious as to how mirrors work. I remember talking about mirrors in physics class, especially when talking about reflection, but there is even more to it!

The first thing I learned is that there are three types of mirrors: plane, convex, and concave. I will talk about plane mirrors. With plane mirrors, the image is always upright, virtual, and the same size.

The Law of Reflection is a huge part of how plane mirrors work. This law states that when light falls upon a plane surfave, it is reflected so that the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence. This only happens when the reflected ray and the normal ray both lie in the plane of incidence.

This law applies to mirrors because when light falls upon a plane surface, or a mirror, it is reflected, and the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection are equal. When the eyes recieve the reflected light waves, it looks as if the waves are diverging from behind the mirror. This specific type of image is called a virtual image. The light waves don't really pass through that point it only looks as if it does.


This image shows how the reflected angle is equal to the angle of incidence.

Hopefully this provides a little introduction to mirrors, there is certainly a ton more information about how mirrors are related to physics!

This video also provides some more information about mirrors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmHK25Mts3I


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