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Virtual images are images formed in places where light does not really reach. Light does not really pass through the mirror to create the image; it only appears to an observer as though the light were coming from behind the mirror. Whenever a mirror creates an image which is virtual, the image will always be located behind the mirror where light does not really pass.

Virtual Image

A virtual image is upright, on the opposite side of the mirror as the object, and light does not actually reach it.

Ray diagrams

We draw ray diagrams to predict the image that is formed by a plane mirror. A ray diagram is a geometrical picture that is used for analyzing the images formed by mirrors and lenses. We draw a few characteristic rays from the object to the mirror. We then follow ray-tracing rules to find the path of the rays and locate the image.

A mirror obeys the Law of Reflection.

The ray diagram for the image formed by a plane mirror is the simplest possible ray diagram. [link] shows an object placed in front of a plane mirror. It is convenient to have a central line that runs perpendicular to the mirror. This imaginary line is called the principal axis .

Ray diagrams

The following should be remembered when drawing ray diagrams:

  1. Objects are represented by arrows. The length of the arrow represents the height of the object.
  2. If the arrow points upwards, then the object is described as upright or erect. If the arrow points downwards then the object is described as inverted.
  3. If the object is real, then the arrow is drawn with a solid line. If the object is virtual, then the arrow is drawn with a dashed line.

Method: Ray Diagrams for Plane Mirrors

Ray diagrams are used to find the position and size and whether the image is real or virtual.

  1. Draw the plane mirror as a straight line on a principal axis.
  2. Draw the object as an arrow in front of the mirror.
  3. Draw the image of the object, by using the principle that the image is placed at the same distance behind the mirror that the object is in front of the mirror. The image size is also the same as the object size.
  4. Place a dot at the point the eye is located.
  5. Pick one point on the image and draw the reflected ray that travels to the eye as it sees this point. Remember to add an arrowhead.
  6. Draw the incident ray for light traveling from the corresponding point on the object to the mirror, such that the law of reflection is obeyed.
  7. Continue for other extreme points on the object (i.e. the tip and base of the arrow).

Suppose a light ray leaves the top of the object traveling parallel to the principal axis. The ray will hit the mirror at an angle of incidence of 0 degrees. We say that the ray hits the mirror normally . According to the law of reflection, the ray will be reflected at 0 degrees. The ray then bounces back in the same direction. We also project the ray back behind the mirror because this is what your eye does.

Another light ray leaves the top of the object and hits the mirror at its centre. This ray will be reflected at the same angle as its angle of incidence, as shown. If we project the ray backward behind the mirror, it will eventually cross the projection of the first ray we drew. We have found the location of the image! It is a virtual image since it appears in an area that light cannot actually reach (behind the mirror). You can see from the diagram that the image is erect and is the same size as the object. This is exactly as we expected.

Questions & Answers

how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
why surface tension is zero at critical temperature
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
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types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
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Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
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what is system testing
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In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
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I'm interested in Nanotube
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Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
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Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Aug 29, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11245/1.3
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