<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

The three types of images formed by mirrors (cases 1, 2, and 3) are exactly analogous to those formed by lenses, as summarized in the table at the end of Image Formation by Lenses . It is easiest to concentrate on only three types of images—then remember that concave mirrors act like convex lenses, whereas convex mirrors act like concave lenses.

Take-home experiment: concave mirrors close to home

Find a flashlight and identify the curved mirror used in it. Find another flashlight and shine the first flashlight onto the second one, which is turned off. Estimate the focal length of the mirror. You might try shining a flashlight on the curved mirror behind the headlight of a car, keeping the headlight switched off, and determine its focal length.

Problem-solving strategy for mirrors

Step 1. Examine the situation to determine that image formation by a mirror is involved.

Step 2. Refer to the Problem-Solving Strategies for Lenses . The same strategies are valid for mirrors as for lenses with one qualification—use the ray tracing rules for mirrors listed earlier in this section.

Section summary

  • The characteristics of an image formed by a flat mirror are: (a) The image and object are the same distance from the mirror, (b) The image is a virtual image, and (c) The image is situated behind the mirror.
  • Image length is half the radius of curvature.
    f = R 2 size 12{f= { {R} over {2} } } {}
  • A convex mirror is a diverging mirror and forms only one type of image, namely a virtual image.

Conceptual questions

What are the differences between real and virtual images? How can you tell (by looking) whether an image formed by a single lens or mirror is real or virtual?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Can you see a virtual image? Can you photograph one? Can one be projected onto a screen with additional lenses or mirrors? Explain your responses.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Is it necessary to project a real image onto a screen for it to exist?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

At what distance is an image always located—at d o size 12{d rSub { size 8{o} } } {} , d i size 12{d rSub { size 8{i} } } {} , or f size 12{f} {} ?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Under what circumstances will an image be located at the focal point of a lens or mirror?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

What is meant by a negative magnification? What is meant by a magnification that is less than 1 in magnitude?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Can a case 1 image be larger than the object even though its magnification is always negative? Explain.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

[link] shows a light bulb between two mirrors. One mirror produces a beam of light with parallel rays; the other keeps light from escaping without being put into the beam. Where is the filament of the light in relation to the focal point or radius of curvature of each mirror?

Two concave mirrors of different sizes are placed facing one another. A filament bulb is placed at the focus of the larger mirror. The rays after reflection from the larger mirror travel parallel to one another. The rays falling on the smaller mirror retrace their paths.
The two mirrors trap most of the bulb’s light and form a directional beam as in a headlight.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Devise an arrangement of mirrors allowing you to see the back of your head. What is the minimum number of mirrors needed for this task?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

If you wish to see your entire body in a flat mirror (from head to toe), how tall should the mirror be? Does its size depend upon your distance away from the mirror? Provide a sketch.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

It can be argued that a flat mirror has an infinite focal length. If so, where does it form an image? That is, how are d i size 12{d rSub { size 8{i} } } {} and d o size 12{d rSub { size 8{o} } } {} related?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Questions & Answers

does the force in a system result in the energy transfer?
Lebatam Reply
full meaning of GPS system
Anaele Reply
how to prove that Newton's law of universal gravitation F = GmM ______ R²
Kaka Reply
sir dose it apply to the human system
Olubukola Reply
prove that the centrimental force Fc= M1V² _________ r
Kaka Reply
prove that centripetal force Fc = MV² ______ r
how lesers can transmit information
mitul Reply
griffts bridge derivative
Ganesh Reply
below me
please explain; when a glass rod is rubbed with silk, it becomes positive and the silk becomes negative- yet both attracts dust. does dust have third types of charge that is attracted to both positive and negative
Timothy Reply
what is a conductor
below me
why below you
no....I said below me ...... nothing below .....ok?
dust particles contains both positive and negative charge particles
corona charge can verify
when pressure increases the temperature remain what?
Ibrahim Reply
remains the temperature
what is frequency
Mbionyi Reply
define precision briefly
Sujitha Reply
CT scanners do not detect details smaller than about 0.5 mm. Is this limitation due to the wavelength of x rays? Explain.
hope this helps
what's critical angle
Mahmud Reply
The Critical Angle Derivation So the critical angle is defined as the angle of incidence that provides an angle of refraction of 90-degrees. Make particular note that the critical angle is an angle of incidence value. For the water-air boundary, the critical angle is 48.6-degrees.
dude.....next time Google it
okay whatever
pls who can give the definition of relative density?
the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a standard, usually water for a liquid or solid, and air for a gas.
What is momentum
aliyu Reply
mass ×velocity
it is the product of mass ×velocity of an object
how do I highlight a sentence]p? I select the sentence but get options like copy or web search but no highlight. tks. src
Sean Reply
then you can edit your work anyway you want
Practice Key Terms 3

Get the best College physics course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College physics' conversation and receive update notifications?