Fun with science > Knowledge Hub > Science > Physics > REAL AND VIRTUAL IMAGE


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Real Image:

When light rays falls on an image and it can be obtained on a screen, it is called real image.

Images formed on the film of a camera and retina of an eye are real images.


Virtual Image:

When light rays falls on an image and it cannot be obtained on a screen, it is called virtual image.

Virtual image is formed behind the mirror. Mirrors like Plane Mirror, Convex Mirror and Concave Lens. 



Plane Mirror

Image is erect, virtual and laterally inverted.

Image made by a plane mirror is laterally inverted image (where left becomes right and right becomes left).

That is why the word ‘AMBULANCE’ is written in laterally inverted form on the front of the ambulance. This is done so that the driver in a vehicle ahead can easily spot the ambulance and can give the way.



Mirror in the shape of a sphere, it is called spherical mirror.


Spherical mirrors are of two types.


In Concave Mirror, the reflective surface is inside the sphere, i.e. is depressed.

In Convex Mirror, the reflective surface is outside the sphere, i.e. is bulged or protruded.

Formation of Image in Concave Mirror: In concave mirror, the image is usually inverted, real and smaller than the object. When the object is kept close to the concave mirror, the image is erect, virtual and larger than the object.

Formation of Image in Concave Mirror: In convex mirror, the image formed is erect, virtual and smaller than the object



Uses of Concave Mirror:

  • Concave mirror is specially used by dentists and  ENT specialists to focus a beam of light to see inside a patient’s mouth or ears. 
  • Concave mirror is used in solar furnace, because rays of sunlight converge at some extent once they reflect from the concave mirror. 
  • Concave mirror is used as barber’s mirror, because it shows a bigger image when object is just too close.
Uses of Convex Mirror:
  • Convex mirror is used in rear view mirrors, as it shows smaller images from a bigger field of view. 
  • Convex mirror is used on hairpin bends, to see the vehicles coming from other side of the bend.
In short, virtual images can’t be observed on a screen (like the one you see in mirror) but real images will be observed on screen (like the one you see in Cinema Halls)


We have our e-books published on Amazon for Grade 3 and Grade 4. The books serve as an important guide for Science Olympiads organized by SOF, Silverzone, Unified Council and others. Books are designed to help students understand key science concepts.

The key highlights of the book are:

·      Well explained topics

·      Use of diagrams and images for students to visualize

·      Test exercise after each chapter for self-assessment and evaluation

·      Interesting facts sections spread across the book

Here are the links:

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