Eli5 How do mirrors work? What causes the glass to reflect and not be see-through?

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Eli5 How do mirrors work? What causes the glass to reflect and not be see-through?

In: Physics

A mirror is a layer of clear glass set on a silver-colored background. The glass doesn’t reflect, the background does.

The difference in refractive indexes between the air and the coating behind the glass.

If the difference is large enough, the EM waves that we call light cannot penetrate and reflected.

If I remember right old school mirrors have silver on the back of glass causing it to be reflected. The more pure the silver, the better the mirror. I don’t think they use silver any more though.