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U9 Cn3 Intro To Curved Mirrors
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U9 Cn3 Intro To Curved Mirrors



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  • 1. Curved Mirrors Unit 9 Class 3 E. Alexander Burt
  • 2. Terminology and Shape
    • The mirror should be shaped like a parabola, but parabolae are hard to make in glass, so the mirror is shaped like a section of a sphere. Note that for a small range they are almost the same shape.
  • 3. Terminology and shape 2
    • A mirror which curves outward towards the object is called “convex”
    • A mirror which curves inward away from the object is called “concave”
    • The “radius of curvature” is just what it sounds like – the radius of the curve of the mirror. It is NOT the same as the size (radius) of the mirror.
  • 4. Focal Length
    • Parabolic and circular mirrors both focus parallel rays of light at a single point, called (obviously) the “focus”
    • The “focal length” is the distance from the mirror to the focus. For a circular mirror, the focal length is half the radius of curvature.
    • f = r/2
  • 5. Principal Axis
    • The line perpendicular to the center of the mirror is called the principal axis, or just “the axis” for short.
    • The focus and center of curvature are points on the principal axis.
  • 6. Reflection Rules:
    • A ray of light which is parallel to the axis will be reflected through the focus.
    • A ray of light which passes through the focus will be reflected parallel to the axis.
    • A ray of light which passes through the center of curvature will reflect on itself.
  • 7. Reflection rules – continued
    • Here are three light rays – one for each rule.
  • 8. The mirror equation:
    • Object distance is p
    • Image distance is q
    • Focal length is f
  • 9. Sign conventions:
    • If it’s on the shiny side of the mirror, it’s positive.
    • If it’s on the non-shiny side of the mirror, it’s negative.
    • Object distance is always positive.
  • 10. Magnification
    • Magnification is the ratio of image height to object height – by similar triangles, we can show that it is also the ratio of object distance to image distance: