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HomeTren&dThe Image Formed by a Plane Mirror

The Image Formed by a Plane Mirror

A plane mirror is a flat, smooth surface that reflects light in a predictable manner. When an object is placed in front of a plane mirror, an image is formed. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of the image formed by a plane mirror, the laws of reflection, and the applications of plane mirrors in various fields.

The Laws of Reflection

Before delving into the specifics of the image formed by a plane mirror, it is essential to understand the laws of reflection. These laws govern how light behaves when it strikes a reflective surface.

First Law of Reflection: The Incident Angle Equals the Reflected Angle

The first law of reflection states that the angle at which light strikes a reflective surface (known as the incident angle) is equal to the angle at which it is reflected (known as the reflected angle). This law can be expressed mathematically as:

θi = θr

Where θi represents the incident angle and θr represents the reflected angle.

Second Law of Reflection: The Incident Ray, Reflected Ray, and Normal Line Lie in the Same Plane

The second law of reflection states that the incident ray, reflected ray, and the normal line (a line perpendicular to the surface of the mirror) all lie in the same plane. This law ensures that the reflection of light is predictable and consistent.

The Characteristics of the Image Formed by a Plane Mirror

When an object is placed in front of a plane mirror, an image is formed. The image formed by a plane mirror possesses several distinct characteristics:

Virtual Image

The image formed by a plane mirror is virtual, meaning it cannot be projected onto a screen. It appears to be behind the mirror, even though no light actually passes through that point. This virtual image is formed by the reflection of light rays.

Upright and Laterally Inverted

The image formed by a plane mirror is upright, meaning it has the same orientation as the object. However, it is laterally inverted, meaning it appears reversed from left to right. For example, if you raise your right hand in front of a plane mirror, the image will show your left hand raised.

Same Size as the Object

The image formed by a plane mirror is the same size as the object. This is because the distance between the object and the mirror is equal to the distance between the image and the mirror. As a result, the image appears to be the same size as the object.

Equal Distance from the Mirror

The image formed by a plane mirror is located at the same distance behind the mirror as the object is in front of it. This distance is known as the object distance (denoted as “do”) and the image distance (denoted as “di”). Mathematically, this can be expressed as:

do = di

Applications of Plane Mirrors

Plane mirrors have a wide range of applications in various fields. Let’s explore some of the most common applications:

1. Rearview Mirrors in Vehicles

Plane mirrors are commonly used as rearview mirrors in vehicles. These mirrors allow drivers to see the reflection of objects behind them without turning their heads. The virtual image formed by the plane mirror provides a wider field of view, enhancing safety on the road.

2. Periscopes

Periscopes, used in submarines and some military applications, rely on plane mirrors to redirect light and provide a view from a different angle. By using multiple plane mirrors, periscopes can transmit images from one location to another without physically moving the observer.

3. Dressing Room Mirrors

Plane mirrors are commonly found in dressing rooms and clothing stores. These mirrors allow individuals to see themselves from different angles and assess their appearance. The virtual image formed by the plane mirror accurately reflects the person’s image, aiding in the selection of clothing and accessories.

4. Optical Instruments

Plane mirrors are used in various optical instruments, such as telescopes and microscopes. They are often employed to redirect light and create a path for the observer to view distant or microscopic objects. The properties of the image formed by a plane mirror ensure that the observed image is accurate and reliable.


1. Can a plane mirror form a real image?

No, a plane mirror cannot form a real image. The image formed by a plane mirror is always virtual, meaning it cannot be projected onto a screen.

2. Why is the image formed by a plane mirror laterally inverted?

The image formed by a plane mirror is laterally inverted because the light rays reflect off the mirror surface and reverse their direction. This reversal causes the image to appear reversed from left to right.

3. How does the distance between the object and the mirror affect the image?

The distance between the object and the mirror does not affect the characteristics of the image formed by a plane mirror. The image will always be the same size as the object and located at the same distance behind the mirror.

4. Can a plane mirror magnify or reduce the size of an object?

No, a plane mirror cannot magnify or reduce the size of an object. The image formed by a plane mirror is always the same size as the object.

5. Are there any limitations to the use of plane mirrors?

While plane mirrors have numerous applications, they do have some limitations. For example, they cannot focus light or create real images. Additionally, the reflective surface of a plane mirror may degrade over time, affecting the quality of the reflected image.


In conclusion, the image formed by a plane mirror is virtual, upright, laterally inverted, and the same size as the object. The laws of reflection govern the behavior of light when it strikes a plane mirror, ensuring that the reflection is predictable and consistent. Plane mirrors find applications in various fields, including vehicles, periscopes, dressing rooms, and optical instruments. Understanding the characteristics and applications of plane mirrors allows us to appreciate their importance in our daily lives and scientific advancements.

Veer Kapoor
Veer Kapoor
Vееr Kapoor is a tеch еnthusiast and blockchain dеvеlopеr spеcializing in smart contracts and dеcеntralizеd applications. With еxpеrtisе in Solidity and blockchain architеcturе, Vееr has contributеd to innovativе blockchain solutions.

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