Physics Review Question

Unit: Geometric Optics
Year: 1996 Question#: 86
Question: A plane mirror will form an image that is

(1 ) virtual and erect
(2 ) real and inverted
(3 ) virtual and inverted
(4 ) real and erect

What is this question really asking?

Explanation by: Adriana R and Jenny G

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Answer 1
virtual and erect


A plane mirror is a regular flat mirror that you hang on a wall.
The difference between a real image and a virtual image is that the light the eye takes in has traveled across the point of the image in a real image. In a virtual image the light only seems like it traveled across the image point. An erect image is when the image appears right way up, and an inverted image is when the image appears upside down. When you look into a plane mirror the image appears erect and virtual. The light appears to be coming from behind the mirror where there could be no light at all, therefore forming a virtual image return to top

Answer 2
real and inverted


The image seen when looking in a plane mirror appears right side up therefore it is erect rather than inverted. The image appears behind the mirror where the light could never have passed and is therefore virtual rather than real. return to top

Answer 3
Virtual and inverted


The image is virtual, but not inverted. (refer back to answer 2 for explanation to why it is not inverted, and to answer 1 for why the image is virtual) Do not confuse "inverted" with "reversed". return to top

Answer 4
real and erect


The image is erect, but not real. (refer back to answer 1 for erect explanation, and to answer 2 for real explanation.) return to top

What's this question really asking?

The question is really asking what is a plane mirror and what are the definitions of real, virtual, erect, and inverted images.
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