What are the charateristics of a real image and a virtual image?

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nessus | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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What is a real image and a virtual image.

This is a question about geometrical optics, and about how the flexible lens in your eye works.

A real image is what you see that is made on your retina by a television or a cinema screen etc. You can see all of the shapes.

A virtual image you also see with your retina but it can't projected onto a screen. You can still see it.

Take a magnifying glass. Hold it at arms length. Line it up with your one of your eyes. Watch the image change from upside down to blurred to rightside up. To really get a handle on it you MUST learn how to draw RAY DIAGRAMS.

 

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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A real image is formed where rays of light converge. They can be projected on a screen. For example if an object is placed outside the focal length of a converging lens or mirror the image formed is a real one. It can be projected on to a screen. A projector used in a cinema theater has such a system.

When the rays of light from objects diverges, the image formed is virtual. It cannot be projected on a screen. The location of the image is determined by retracing the divergent rays to the point where they seem to diverge from. Examples of cases where virtual images are formed are when objects are looked through diverging lenses or when they are placed within the focal length of converging lenses. When you looking at a magnified image of an object using a convergent lens, it is placed at a distance less than the focal length of the lens. The result is an enlarged virtual image of the object.

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