When light strikes certain surfaces, it is reflected. This reflection of light from objects to one's eyes enables people to see these objects.
Law of Reflection
When a ray of light strikes a smooth shiny surface, the ray is reflected.
incident ray: the ray that strikes the surface
reflected ray: light ray that bounces off the surface
normal: line drawn at right angles to the surface
angle of incidence: angle between incident ray and normal
angle of reflection: angle between reflected ray and normal
Regular and Diffuse Reflection
The Law of Reflection above only pertains to a single ray of light. When a beam, or many parallel light rays, are reflected,
the manner of reflection depends on the surface. The surface determines whether the reflection is regular or diffuse.
regular reflection: reflection from a smooth flat surface
diffuse reflection: reflection from a rough surface.
Reflection from a Plane Mirror
When you look into a mirror, light is reflected and your image is mirrored back to you. However, there are some aspects to this reflection that is different from others.
These are the characteristics of an image formed by a plane mirror:
1. The size of the image seen in a plane mirror is the same as the size of the object.
2. The actual distance of the object form a plane mirror is the same as the distance the image appears to be behind the mirror.
3. The image seen in a plance mirror is reversed laterally when compared to the object.