Everywhere we look, there seems to be something new to see in this world. We see objects around us with the help of our eyes. Sometimes, when we are in a room that is too dark, we find it difficult to see anything in the room. But when we turn on the lights, we are able to recognize the objects that are in the room. The obvious question that arises is what makes things visible.
Yes, it is with the help of eyes that we are able to see but the presence of light plays an equally important role too. Light is a kind of energy that allows us to view things either directly from where it emanates or from where it is reflected.
Light takes a straighter path
We can observe events such as a beam of sunlight entering a room via a small aperture or hole and beams of light emerging from the headlights of automobiles, scooters, motors, torches, etc. However, can we see something which is on the other side of the wall?
The reason we cannot see what's on the other side of the wall is because a ray of light cannot bend at the edges of the wall and reach your eyes. In other words, light only travels along a straight path and hence, we are able to see objects which lie in front of us or around us, without any obstacles in between.
Reflection of Light
There are certain circumstances in which a mirror or glossy surfaces, such as a stainless steel plate or spoon, may alter the direction of light incident on it. Therefore, this phenomenon of a mirror altering the direction of light is known as light reflection. The water's surface may also function as a mirror and alter the course of light, which explains why buildings and trees are reflected in the water.
Image of An Object
When we look into the mirror, the first thing that we notice is our faces and various objects around us on the mirror. But have you ever wondered why we are able to see various objects on the mirror? The reason is a property of a light called reflection of light.
Light is reflected by a mirror to form an image, and the image is of an object. When we see on the mirror, the face acts as the object. Thus, when the light falls on the face and gets reflected by the mirror, we see ourselves. The image distance at the back of the mirror and the object distance will be the same (object distance is the distance between us and the mirror).
Two types of images exist, which are virtual and real images.
Real images: Real image is an image that may be seen on a screen, such as an image created on a movie screen. When the light rays from an object meet at a single point following reflection from a mirror, a real image is formed.
Virtual image: Virtual image cannot be shown on a screen, as it happens with a mirror image. When the light rays emanating from an object seem to intersect inside a mirror, a virtual image is formed. It is impossible to create a virtual image on the screen since light rays cannot flow through or be received by a screen.
How can you prove that an objects image, seen on the mirror, is virtual in nature?
When observing a mirror, the image of a candle seems to develop behind the mirror.
Now, consider placing a vertical screen behind a plane mirror. When screen is placed behind the mirror, image cannot be produced on the screen. Even if the screen is positioned in front of the flat mirror, the image of the candle cannot be generated. As the candle’s image, seen on the plane mirror, cannot be projected onto a screen, this demonstrates that the image is virtual in nature and cannot be a real image.
The length and width of the candle image and its flame are identical to those of the original candle and its flame. The candle's reflection in the plane mirror is the same size as the actual candle.
Virtual image is an erect image
Virtual image: When we compare virtual image with the object, we observe that both look similar with a flame at the top. Similarly, just like the base of a candle, the base of an image can be observed. Thus, we can say that the virtual image is an erect image (or upright image). Consequently, the image created by a plane mirror is vertical.
Real image is an inverted image
Real image: When we compare a real image with the object, he observe that both look similar but the image is inverted when compared to the object. Thus, we can say that a real image is an inverted image.
Side Inversion (Right ⇔ Left)
If we stand in front of a plane mirror and raise our right hand, our reflection will raise its left hand. Furthermore, if we raise our left hand, the picture seems to raise its right hand.
To put it another way, the side of our body that faces right becomes the left in the image, and the side that faces left becomes the right. Regarding your body, it looks as though our picture has been "reversed sideways." Inverting the sides of an item and its reflection is known as lateral inversion.
The image generated in a plane mirror is thus said to be laterally reversed.
Therefore, we can see why AMBULANCE is displayed as ƎƆИA⅃UꓭMA. When the driver of a car in front of an ambulance looks in his/her rear-view mirror, he/she may see the word AMBULANCE written on the front side of an ambulance's vehicle. Therefore, it is everyone's responsibility to enable an ambulance to pass unimpeded.
To know more about reflection and mirror images, check our videos.