Lectures on Physics has been derived from Benjamin Crowell's Light and Matter series of free introductory textbooks on physics. See the editorial for more information....

# Exploring Images With a Curved Mirror

Equipment:
• curved mirrors like the ones described in this chapter
• curved mirrors that bulge outward (for part 6 only)

1. Obtain a curved mirror from your instructor. If it is silvered on both sides, make sure you're working with the hollowed-out side, which bends light rays inward. Look at your own face in the mirror. Now change the distance between your face and the mirror, and see what happens. How do you explain your observations?

2. With the mirror held far away from you, observe the image of something behind you, over your shoulder. Now bring your eye closer and closer to the mirror. Can you see the image with your eye very close to the mirror? Explain what's happening.

3. Now imagine the following new situation, but don't actually do it yet. Suppose you lay the mirror face-up on a piece of tissue paper, put your finger a few cm above the mirror, and look at the image of your finger. As in part 2, you can bring your eye closer and closer to the mirror. Write down a prediction of what will happen. Will you be able to see the image with your eye very close to the mirror?

Prediction:_______________________________________________________

4. Lay the mirror on the tissue paper, and use it to create an image of the overhead lights on a piece of paper above it and a little off to the side. What do you have to do in order to make the image clear? Can you explain this observation?

5. Now imagine the following experiment, but don't do it yet. What will happen to the image on the paper if you cover half of the mirror with your hand?

Prediction:_______________________________________________________

Test your prediction. If your prediction was incorrect, can you explain what happened?

6. Now imagine forming an image with a curved mirror that bulges outward, and that therefore bends light rays away from the central axis. Draw a typical ray diagram. Is the image real or virtual? Will there be more than one type of image?

Prediction:_______________________________________________________

Test your prediction with the new type of mirror.

Last Update: 2009-06-21