why a mirror is not white?


We have learned that the colour “white” is something that reflects all wavelengths of light (or visible light). If a mirror is supposed to reflect everything coming to it, why is it not just white? If I place a white paper next to a mirror and stare at them, what’s the difference in what each of them are reflecting?

In: 2

There’s two kinds of reflection, called specular and diffuse. A mirror is specular, and that means that it reflects all the light back out at exactly the angle it came in on, effectively making a new image just as good as the original.

A piece of paper is diffuse, so when light hits any point on it the light reflects off in all directions, not just one. That obliterates any image information the light might have had before hitting the paper.