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If the light meets behind the mirror, without really meeting, how is it even supposed to be interpreted. If two light rays never meet because they are diverging but they meet behind the mirror-which it doesn't actually do, because it doesn't exist, what is happening?

Does wave theory provide a deeper and meaningful explanation for the phenomenon?

we can't even put a sensor where the light meets. And its on the "Other side" of the mirror. I can understand, for real images, if we put a sensor where the light meets, an image could be formed due to the photoelectric effect or the light being registered by some type of sensor. But how virtual?

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It's not that the light itself is converging behind the mirror, it's that if you extend the rays in a straight line following their new path after being bent in the lens, they will appear to come from a single point.

This Khan Academy video explains virtual images well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrOg85VPQgw&vl=en

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  • $\begingroup$ sure, but that doesn't explain how a camera or an eye or a sensor can see/capture it. In reality, the rays will never meet and it simply doesn't make any sense right? I mean, we can't even put a sensor where the light meets. And its on the "Other side" of the mirror. $\endgroup$ – Vishwa Mithra Tatta Oct 22 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ We aren't measuring the light where it meets, we are measuring the light after it has been bent by the mirror, and we observe it to have followed a path that would imply its source was somewhere nearer or farther than the real source. I recommend you watch youtube.com/watch?v=nrOg85VPQgw&vl=en $\endgroup$ – Maarten de Haan Oct 22 at 9:50
  • $\begingroup$ Yup, I finally get it. Thank you so much. SO we do put a sensor which captures both the diverging rays right? $\endgroup$ – Vishwa Mithra Tatta Oct 22 at 9:56
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    $\begingroup$ Essentially, yes $\endgroup$ – Maarten de Haan Oct 22 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ please add the video link to the answer. ill delete/close the question.:) $\endgroup$ – Vishwa Mithra Tatta Oct 22 at 9:59
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enter image description here

For an object (the green arrow) standing in front of the mirror, all the rays that impinge on the mirror send back at the same angle at which they impinge on it. These reflected rays seem to be coming from an object behind the mirror. It only seems further away (if you look in the mirror you see yourself twice the distance as you are standing in front of the mirror) and of course, left and right become right and left (which makes it quite difficult to cut your hair in the mirror, but you'll get used to it).

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  • $\begingroup$ The problem I had was the fact that, we need to capture both of the diverging rays. That is, the "eye" needs to capture both the diverging rays which are far apart-in the diagram at least. $\endgroup$ – Vishwa Mithra Tatta Oct 24 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ So, If I go far enough where the rays diverge so much that my eyes can't capture both the rays at a time. I shouldn't be able to see the image. $\endgroup$ – Vishwa Mithra Tatta Oct 24 at 17:07
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, I know what you mean. Of course, there is an infinity of rays between the two diverging rays. A small part of these falls into the pupil of your eye and get focused on your retina. The fact that they diverge so much in the picture is just because they took two arbitrary rays. They could just as well have depicted the two rays that fall into your pupil (there is a small angle between the rays, in that case, which would look like one line if you are far enough, and makes the object less visible (and smaller). $\endgroup$ – Deschele Schilder Oct 25 at 9:38

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