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Spherical mirrors are the mirrors having curved surfaces which are painted on one of the sides. Spherical mirrors in which inward surfaces are painted are known as convex mirrors while the spherical mirrors in which outward surfaces are painted are known as concave mirrors. Concave mirrors are also known as a converging mirror since the rays converge after falling on the concave mirror while the convex mirrors are known as diverging mirrors as the rays diverge after falling on the convex mirror. In this article, we will learn about image formation by concave and convex mirrors.

Guidelines for Rays Falling on the Concave and Convex Mirrors

  1. When a ray strikes concave or convex mirrors obliquely at its pole, it is reflected obliquely.

  2. When a ray, parallel to principle axis strikes concave or convex mirrors, the reflected ray passes through the focus on the principle axis.

  3. When a ray, passing through focus strikes concave or convex mirrors, the reflected ray will pass parallel to the principle axis.

  4. A ray passing through the center of curvature of the spherical mirror will retrace its path after reflection.

Image formation by Concave and Convex Mirrors:

Concave mirrors:

1. When the object is at infinity. When an object the is placed at infinity, a real image is formed at the focus. The size of the image is much smaller as compared to that of the object.

2. When the object is behind the centre of curvature. When an object is placed behind the center of curvature, a real image is formed between the center of curvature and focus. The size of the image is smaller as compared to that of the object.

3. When the object is at the centre of curvature. When an object is placed at the center of curvature and focus, the real image is formed at the center of curvature. The size of the image is same as compared to that of the object.

4. When the object is between the centre of curvature (C) and the focus (F). When an object is placed in between the center of curvature and focus, the real image is formed behind the center of curvature. The size of the image is smaller as compared to that of the object.

5. When the object is at the focus (F). When an object is placed at the focus, the real image is formed at infinity. The size of the image is much larger as compared to that of the object.

6. When the object is placed between the focus (F) and the pole (P). When an object is placed in between focus and pole, a virtual image is formed. The size of the image is larger as compared to that of the object.

Convex mirrors:

1. When an object is placed at infinity, a virtual image is formed at the focus. The size of the image is much smaller as compared to that of the object.

2. When an object is placed at a finite distance from the mirror, a virtual image is formed between pole and focus of the convex mirror. The size of the image is smaller as compared to that of the object.

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