Image Formation by a Diverging Mirror


Move the red object using the mouse.
A diverging mirror always forms an upright virtual image.
The image appeares on the right of the mirror as a gray arrow.

This applet shows the basics of a convex mirror. You can move the object by either draging it or by clicking to the location of your choice.

The yellow lines represent the three rays of light needed to form the image are as follows:

  • The first ray comes from the object and travels parallel to the principal axis and therefore appears to originate from the focal point F after reflection from the mirror.
  • The second ray heads toward F, emerging parallel to the principal axis after reflection.
  • The third ray travels toward the center of curvature C; as a result it strikes the mirror perpendicularly and reflects back on itself.

To assist you with understanding the diagrams,

  • The green lines are the virtual rays as they appear to an observer.
  • The gray lines are light rays.
  • The red arrow is the object and the gray arrow is the resulting virtual image.

Copyright © 1997, Sergey Kiselev and Tanya Yanovsky-Kiselev
All rights reserved.
Last modified: June 20, 1997

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