Eli5: Why do we see our reflection in mirror or polished surface but not on other objects like wall?

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Eli5: Why do we see our reflection in mirror or polished surface but not on other objects like wall?

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6 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

With a polished surface such as a mirror, light reflects off the surface at the same angle that it came in. For instance, if you look at the point in the mirror where you see your chin, you will find that the angle between your chin and that point, and the angle between you eye and that point, are the same. So light coming in from your chin toward that point will reflect off the mirror and into your eye. Light coming in on that point from places other than your chin will be reflected in other directions.

By contrast, light striking most other surfaces is scattered in all directions, so they cannot form reflected images.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The mirror is smooth and very reflective, so it reflects the light back almost purely uniformly making a coherent picture. While other things, they are not nearly as smooth and not as reflective, they scatter the light as they reflect it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

With a polished surface such as a mirror, light reflects off the surface at the same angle that it came in. For instance, if you look at the point in the mirror where you see your chin, you will find that the angle between your chin and that point, and the angle between you eye and that point, are the same. So light coming in from your chin toward that point will reflect off the mirror and into your eye. Light coming in on that point from places other than your chin will be reflected in other directions.

By contrast, light striking most other surfaces is scattered in all directions, so they cannot form reflected images.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The mirror is smooth and very reflective, so it reflects the light back almost purely uniformly making a coherent picture. While other things, they are not nearly as smooth and not as reflective, they scatter the light as they reflect it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The mirror is smooth and very reflective, so it reflects the light back almost purely uniformly making a coherent picture. While other things, they are not nearly as smooth and not as reflective, they scatter the light as they reflect it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

With a polished surface such as a mirror, light reflects off the surface at the same angle that it came in. For instance, if you look at the point in the mirror where you see your chin, you will find that the angle between your chin and that point, and the angle between you eye and that point, are the same. So light coming in from your chin toward that point will reflect off the mirror and into your eye. Light coming in on that point from places other than your chin will be reflected in other directions.

By contrast, light striking most other surfaces is scattered in all directions, so they cannot form reflected images.