Uses of plane mirrors

Written by jeremiah blanchard
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Uses of plane mirrors
Mirrors can be decorative or helpful in many applications. (the mirror image by Jan Will from Fotolia.com)

Mirrors are common in households and buildings throughout the world and used for decoration, dressing or incorporated into architectural design. You can separate mirrors into two basic categories: plane or concave surface mirrors. Plane mirrors reflect a virtual image of an object, whereas concave mirrors--depending on the curvature and placement of objects--have the ability to magnify or reduce the image.

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Plane Mirror Image Basics

A plane mirror is flat and reflects the object as a virtual image. This means that the object will be the same size in the mirror as it actually is and no light generates from behind the mirror. The image, as seen in a plane mirror, will appear to be behind or within the mirror; the distance between the mirror and the object is equal in the reflection. The images as seen in a plane mirror will also be "left-right" reversed.

Common Plane Mirror Uses

Plane mirrors are most appropriately suitable when a user needs an actual proportionate size reflection of an object. Common uses are in bathrooms, wall mirrors or standing floor mirrors. These are typically used when dressing or looking at the body. The plane mirror gives an accurate representation of the object, so this makes it easy to alter dress styles, style hair or scrutinise the body's attributes.

Plane Mirrors and Astronomy

Plane mirrors are extremely helpful in creating telescopes. The plane mirror, in conjunction with concave mirrors, aids in the magnification of far away objects. Large telescopes used in observatories or space telescopes have extremely large plane and concave mirrors to enhance reflective and magnification qualities. The light emanating from the object will bounce off one or more plane mirrors and then onto a concave mirror for magnification. On large scale telescopes, the images feed into a computer, which magnifies even further; or, it can pass through filters to view and measure different attributes of space objects, such as hot or cold spots, distance, speed and light intensity.

Interior Design and Architecture

Interior designers also use plane mirrors to create an illusion of depth, making a room appear larger than it actually is. You can typically see large plane mirrors in gyms--it allows a gym user to view his body and help execute proper form and technique while exercising. It also makes the room appear larger and less crowded by machinery and people. Architects sometimes incorporate plane mirrors into buildings for the same effect, typically in lobby or entrance ways, or placed on ceilings.

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