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Thursday Reflections – why we see reflections?

Why, looking in the mirror or on the water surface, we see our reflection?

This is due to the fact that the mirror and the water surface are very even and almost do not absorb light. In fact, absolutely everything that we see is light reflected from objects. When we see our reflection, we see the light that first reflected from our body, then from the mirror (water surface) and after that came into our eyes. Almost all the rays of the sun are reflected from the mirror and from the water surface.

When rays of light fall on some surface, they all go in orderly parallel rows. But if the surface is uneven, then the rays of light will be reflected from it in different directions, depending on the unevenness on which they fell. Moreover, this unevenness can be very small, and this will be enough so that we do not see the reflection.

Snow, for example, reflects all the rays that fall on it, but we won’t see reflections in it, because the rays reflected from it scatter in different directions. Unlike snow, the expanse of water, a mirror or any other polished surface is very even, so the light is reflected from them just like it is falling, and we see our reflection.

© Fortune, 2009

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