convex mirror

The other type of curved mirror, a convex mirror, is shaped like the outside of a bowl. Because of its shape, it can gather and reflect light from a wide area. As you can see in the Figure 1.3, a convex mirror forms only virtual images that are right-side up and smaller than the actual object. Q: Convex mirrors are used as side mirrors on cars. You can see one in the Figure 1.4. Why is a convex mirror good for this purpose? A: Because it gathers light over a wide area, a convex mirror gives the driver a wider view of the area around the vehicle than a plane mirror would.



how mirrors form images

A mirror is typically made of glass with a shiny metal backing that reflects all the light that strikes it. When a mirror reflects light, it forms an image. An image is a copy of an object that is formed by reflection or refraction. Mirrors may have flat or curved surfaces. The shape of a mirrors surface determines the type of image it forms. For example, some mirrors form real images, and other mirrors form virtual images. Whats the difference between real and virtual images? A real image forms in front of a mirror where reflected light rays actually meet. It is a true image that could be projected on a screen. A virtual image appears to be on the other side of the mirror. Of course, reflected rays dont actually go through the mirror to the other side, so a virtual image doesnt really exist. It just appears to exist to the human brain. Q: Look back at the image of the girl pointing at her image in the mirror. Which type of image is it, real or virtual? A: The image of the girl is a virtual image. It appears to be on the other side of the mirror from the girl.

concave mirror

Some mirrors have a curved rather than flat surface. Curved mirrors can be concave or convex. A concave mirror is shaped like the inside of a bowl. This type of mirror forms either real or virtual images, depending on where the object is placed relative to the focal point. The focal point is the point in front of the mirror where the reflected rays meet. You can see how concave mirrors form images in the Figure 1.2. Concave mirrors are used behind car headlights. They focus the light and make it brighter. Concave mirrors are also used in some telescopes.


plane mirror

The mirror in the opening photo is a plane mirror. This is the most common type of mirror. It has a flat reflective surface and forms only virtual images. The image formed by a plane mirror is also right-side up and life sized. But something is different about the image compared with the real object in front of the mirror. Left and right are reversed. Look at the girl brushing her teeth in the Figure 1.1. She is using her left hand to brush her teeth, but her image (on the left) appears to be brushing her teeth with the right hand. All plane mirrors reverse left and right in this way. The term mirror image refers to how left and right are reversed in an image compared with the object.


instructional diagrams

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the shape of a mirrors surface determines the type of image that it forms.

-->  a. true

b. false

a real image

a) forms in front of a mirror.

b) forms where rays of light actually meet.

c) is always smaller than the reflected object.

-->  d) two of the above

a virtual image

a) appears to be behind the mirror.

b) doesnt really exist.

c) is always larger than the reflected object.

-->  d) two of the above

the type of mirror in question 6 always forms real images.

a. true

-->  b. false

the type of mirror in question 8 always forms life-sized images.

a. true

-->  b. false

which statement about convex mirrors is true?

-->  a) they curve outward like the outside of a bowl.

b) they form only real images.

c) they form only enlarged images.

d) two of the above

diagram questions

No diagram questions associated with this lesson