With only morning and evening routines, people spend a lot of time looking in the mirror, but did you know that the history of this mundane item dates back to 4000 BC?
According to Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archeology and the Ancient World, the earliest mirrors were made of polished obsidian, a type of natural glass formed by volcanoes. Art glass mirrors didn’t come until the third century AD, and even when they did they were very small.
The Joukowsky Institute says an explanation for the mirror’s popularity as a major decoration dates back to the reign of Louis XIV, who in 1689 decreed that silver, a popular decorative material, be confiscated to fund military campaigns. As a result, the upper class turned to glossy, reflective glass to decorate their homes.
What color is a mirror?
According to BBC Science Focus Magazine, most mirrors are technically white with a slight green tint.
Color is the result of reflection light† Produce colourobjects absorb what wavelengths of light while reflecting others. For example, an object that appears red simply reflects Red light† Objects that are black do not reflect light. Because a mirror is designed to reflect all wavelengths on the visible spectruma perfect mirror would be white – the reflection of all colors.
But mirrors are not perfect. Most mirrors reflect green light stronger than other colors because they have an underlying layer of silica glass, whose atoms reflect green wavelengths more than other colors, according to ZME Science
How do mirrors work?
When light hits an object, it’s absorbed, reflected or transmitted by the object, says Microscopy Today. According to Live Science, reflected light often scatters in numerous directions based on the shape of the object, even influenced by microscopic textural features.
For this reason, mirrors are very slippery, according to Live Science. This means they can reflect light without scattering it. By returning light particles in almost the same arrangement, a mirror reflects the light back to the observer in a way that allows them to see their reflection clearly.
Why do mirrors mirror everything horizontally?
It turns out they don’t. There is a change going on, but it is not horizontal.
As YouTube educational creator Dianna Cowern, aka Physics Girl, explains, an image is actually inverted along the z-axis, which can be difficult to understand.
Holding something with printed text in front of a mirror may seem flipped, but think about it this way: if you could see through the paper, you couldn’t read it from the back either. It would be retarded. This means that you are the one who flipped it horizontally, as if someone were standing opposite you to read it, but mirrors don’t show things exactly as another person would see them. You would need a photo to see that perspective.
To present it in a different way, someone standing in front of you would have his left hand hand across your right and their right hand on the other side of your left. In this scenario, they are actually flipped horizontally because their bodies are not facing the same direction as yours. In the mirror, your left hand still matches your left hand and your right hand matches your right hand. Cowern says we’re just not used to this because we’re used to facing people who are turned towards us.
So, the next time you look in a mirrorRemember, you don’t really see yourself the way others do. You see yourself flipped along the z-axis.
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Quote: What color is a mirror? Explain mirrors and how they work. (2022, July 5) retrieved on July 5, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-07-mirror-mirrors.html
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