Can a virtual image be photographed?

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mwmovr40's profile pic

mwmovr40 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

When a simple lens creates an image it does it in one of two basic ways.  It either creates a real image or a virtual image.

If the rays of light produced by an object go through a lens and are refracted so that they actually cross on the far side of the lens, those rays will produce a real image.  This is called a "real" image because the rays produce a visible image at the point where the rays cross.  That means if you place a piece of paper or the film (or image detector of digital camera) at that point you will be able to see the image of the object.  Therefore, you can in fact take a picture of a real image.

If the rays of light produced by an object go through the lens and are refracted in such a was that they do not cross on the far side of the lens, then they can not form an image.  If you move your eye to the far side of the lens and look back through the lens toward the object you will see an image.  This image is called a virtual image.  It is not created by the actual crossing of light rays.  It looks like they are coming from the object side of the lens because your brain assumes the rays are coming from that location even though they aren't.  If you were to place a piece of paper or film at the place where you believe the image to be, there will be no image produced on the paper or film.  So, if you try to take a picture of the virtual image by placing the camera where the image appears to be you will not be able to take a picture of the virtual image.  On the other hand, if you move the camera to the far side of the lens and take a picture back through the lens, toward the object you will be able to take a picture of the lens system including the virtual image.

However, you should keep in mind that when you take a picture of a virtual image you are not actually taking the picture of something that is really there.

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najm1947's profile pic

najm1947 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Virtual images can be seen making an image in our eyes by the rays coming in to our eyes through the lens and getting focused on the retina.

A camara works exactly on the same principle, the light rays come through the lens of the camera and get focused on the sensitive medium that captures the image.

Hence a virtual image can be photographed.

twinkysweet30's profile pic

twinkysweet30 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

thanxx a lot..

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