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Convex Spherical Mirrors

Convex Spherical Mirrors - Java Tutorial

Regardless of the position of the object reflected by a convex mirror, the image formed is always virtual, upright, and reduced in size. This interactive tutorial explores how moving the object farther away from the mirror's surface affects the size of the virtual image formed behind the mirror.

The tutorial initializes with the object (an upright arrow) positioned with its tail touching the center of the mirror's optical axis on the front side of the mirror, far away from the center of curvature and the focal point (located behind 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 approaches the mirror, the upright, real image grows larger, approaching the size of the arrow, but becomes much smaller as the arrow is moved farther away from the reflecting surface of the mirror.

Images formed with convex mirrors are always right side up and reduced in size. These images are also termed virtual images because they occur where reflected rays appear to diverge from a focal point behind the mirror.

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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