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Concave Mirrors

Concave Spherical Mirrors - Java Tutorial

Concave mirrors have a curved surface with a center of curvature equidistant from every point on the mirror's surface. An object beyond the center of curvature forms a real and inverted image between the focal point and the center of curvature.

This interactive tutorial explores how moving the object farther away from the center of curvature affects the size of the real image formed by the mirror. 

To operate the tutorial, use the Object Position slider to translate the arrow back and forth in front of the mirror. As the arrow is moved away from the mirror, the inverted, real image grows larger and becomes equal in size to the object at the center of curvature. As the object is moved beyond the center of curvature, the image continues to grow smaller. When the object reaches the focal point, an upright, virtual image is produced on the rear side of the mirror and decreases in size as the object approaches the mirror surface.

The distance from the reflecting surface to the focal point is known as the mirror's focal length. The size of the image depends upon the distance of the object from the mirror and its position with respect to the mirror surface.

Contributing Authors

Matthew J. Parry-Hill, Thomas J. Fellers and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.

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