bp's science: mirrors (v.1)

Mirrors are made by silvering, or spraying one side of a piece of glass with a silver or aluminum backing. These shiny metals are extremely good at efficiently reflecting light which enables us to see an image of ourselves. This kind of reflection is called specular reflection and, in short, it means that when a light ray hits the silver or aluminum backing of a mirror it bounces off of it at the same angle as it came in. Thus, we see an almost perfect image of ourselves. This kind of reflection is different than diffuse reflection, where light comes in and bounces off a surface at all different angles, for instance, when light hits white marble. If you look at the world around you, you can see specular and diffuse reflection all over the place. What about your wedding ring? Matte finish photos? Glossy finish? Many things possess both specular and diffuse reflection.

Take a look at the links within this post. They make for some great reading and they're where I glean my info.

1 comment:

jo said...

Aha! Very cool, indeed.

So, I heard an interesting fact about refraction and our eyes. You might want to look into it. It seems as if light must pass through air before it hits our cornea in order to properly focus on our retina. That's why everything is blurry underwater, but snaps back into focus when we wear goggles. Light is able to pass through air before it gets to our eye. What do you know about this? Is that something you might post about?