# Why image of high-altitude clouds is formed in a shallow lake? [closed]

Suppose we look at the surface of a lake and see a reflected image of high-altitude clouds in the sky. The distance of a cloud from the lake is far more than the depth of lake. So then how can an image be formed?

I know that we see an image formed into the lake because still water surface of lake can be treated as a plane mirror. But in this case, how can object distance be equal to image distance that happens in a plane mirror? The height of cloud will be kilometres, but the depth of cloud will be a few metres.

• The picture of the clouds you see is a so called imaginary picture, like every mirrored picture, you can see yourself way behind a mirror on a massive wall . Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 15:27

When a ball bounces off the floor, all the action happens at the floor. You don't need a lot of depth to the floor.

It is the same when light bounces off a mirror.

The surface of the water is a mirror. This particular kind of mirror works best when light hits at a shallow angle. The depth of the water doesn't matter.

When you look in a mirror, it looks like you see things behind the mirror like looking through a window. You are not seeing what is behind the mirror. You are seeing what is in front of it.

Think of a cell phone showing a picture of a cat. One way you might build such a phone is to shrink the cat, cut a hole in the phone, and put the miniature cat there. It would look the same.

What you see when you look at a cat is light coming from the cat. You know the direction to the cat by the direction of the light as it hits your eyes.

A real phone is a gadget that makes light just like the light that comes from a cat. If the light is the same, what you see is the same.

A mirror changes the direction of light. Light from a cat bounces off the mirror and arrives at your eye from a new direction. So what you see looks like it is in a new direction. It looks like the same cat. The light is the same as if you had a window and a cat behind the mirror. So you see a cat behind the mirror.

It is the same for clouds reflected from a lake. Clouds look like they are under the surface. But they are in the sky. You are seeing the sky as if it was in a different direction.

• Ok you have told that mirror surface is only here to change the direction of light rays from any object and make it to come from a new direction and that's how we see the image but how can you say that the image is not behind but in front of mirror?? Commented Oct 28, 2023 at 13:21
• The object is the place the light really comes from. It is in front of the mirror. The image is the place light appears to come from. It is behind the mirror. Commented Oct 28, 2023 at 15:13