What are the Characteristics of Concave and Convex Mirrors?

In Physics, students often encounter the term, spherical mirrors, while learning about how light is deflected and at what angles. Several concepts and chapters are directly derived from it. There are two types of spherical mirrors, Convex Mirrors and Concave Mirrors. Convex mirrors and concave mirrors differ in their principles. In simple terms, convex mirrors bulge outside whereas the concave mirror bulges from inside.

While, both, convex and concave mirrors have different principles, the complexities and comparisons need to be dealt with elaborately. From plane to spherical mirrors, to concave to convex mirrors, the differences attach immense importance to physics students, as well we those who deal with as part of academics as well as profession.

A Spherical Mirror that has a reflective surface inside, is called the converging mirror. The main attribute of the concave mirror is that it focuses on pointing the light from the source falling on it, into a single point. And generally, the image formed by these types of mirrors usually varies based on the size, shape, and position of the object.

A convex mirror is a type of spherical mirror that has a reflective surface towards the outside of the bulge, and it is also referred to as diverging mirror. Unlike convex mirrors, in a concave mirror, the light falling on the object diverges as it reflects through the mirror. And generally, as the distance between the source and the object decreases, the size of the image formed increases.

Characteristics of Concave Mirror
The major characteristics of concave mirrors are listed below,
Converging: A concave mirror is a converging one because, light rays that hit it reflect on the surface, and merge at a particular point. This point is known as a focal point. Concave mirrors allow light to focus to a point.
Magnification and formation of image: Place a concave mirror close to any object and you will notice that it shows a magnified image that is straight, erect, and of course virtual. The image looks to be larger than the actual size of the object. The concave mirror also looks upright. The reason why concave mirrors feature the formation of virtual images is that the rays that reflect look to diverge from a point located behind the mirror.
Distance and image properties: In concave mirrors, when the distance between the object and the concave mirror increases, the size of the image decreases. At a particular distance,, the image changes to virtual. Under this circumstance, the true image, in an inverted form manifests on the opposite side of the concave mirror.
Image formations: concave mirrors create images of different sizes, and diverse in nature, from real to virtual. These features enhance the importance of concave mirrors, which they are widely used in various applications, from domestic to scientific
Characteristics of Convex Mirror
Diverging: A convex mirror is a standard diverging mirror because when light rays hit the reflecting surface, they diverge or spread. Unlike concave mirrors, convex mirrors cause the light rays to diverge from the definite focal point.
Types of images – from virtual to diminishing: irrespective of the distance between the object and the convex mirror, the images formed are virtual, uprights, and diminished. The image appears erect and smaller too compared to the actual size of the object. The image also appears on the rear side of the mirror. When you trace it backward, the virtual image forms through the intersection of diverging rays.
View–Wide: Convex mirrors have an incredible feature to offer a broad canvas of view. This is because they possess an outwardly curved shape, and thus convex mirrors capture a wider area in reflection in comparison with flat and concave mirrors. Due to this, concave mirrors are used whenever there is a need for a larger perspective and a more expansive view. These can be large grounds for parking, sporting, meeting, and intersections, and where security, surveillance, and monitoring are involved
Image – magnitude, and distance: convex mirrors are known to produce virtual images that are closer to the mirror than the object. The image that is formed by convex mirrors looks diminished and gives an impression of being smaller than the object’s real size. Due to this reduction, in the size of the image, a more expansive area can be captured for reflection. In summary, through convex mirrors, the light diverges as it strikes the reflecting surface The Convex mirrors always result in diminished, erect, and virtual images, regardless of the distance between the mirror and the object.
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