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School Physics Notes: Reflection of visible light 6. The plane mirror image

Reflected light: 6. The characteristic properties of the image formed by a plane mirror

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INDEX of physics notes: Light reflection and the uses of plane and curved mirrors


6. The characteristic properties of the image in a plane mirror

The image produced in a plane mirror is virtual, upright and laterally inverted (ray diagram below).

The ray diagram for the formation of a mirror image

The construction of the ray diagram to show the formation of a virtual image by a plane mirror and from which you can deduce the characteristics of the virtual image.

You are expected to be able to construct the diagram of the virtual image formed in a plane mirror.

The features of the virtual image formed by a plane mirror are ...

The image is the same size as the object.

The image is as far behind the mirror as the object is in front of the mirror.

The image is upright - the same way up as the object (if not it would be inverted, and you would look upside down!).

The image is virtual because the image appears to be from behind the mirror.

The image is laterally inverted, the 'left' of the object now appears on the 'right' side and the 'right' of the object appears to be the 'left' side of the image - this is called lateral inversion of the image

INDEX notes: Light reflection and uses of plane & curved mirrors


Keywords, phrases and learning objectives for the reflection of visible light rays

Be able to describe and explain with a diagram, the characteristic properties of the image formed by a plane mirror.

Know the image in a plane mirror is virtual (not real), upright (right way up), the same size as the object, but laterally inverted (right-left becomes left-right, but still upright).


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INDEX notes: Light reflection and uses of plane & curved mirrors

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