In the world of physics, there are two types of images: real and virtual. A real image is made when light actually reflects off an object and hits a screen or other surface. A virtual image, on the other hand, is created when light bends around an object and creates an image that seems to be behind the object. This week, we’re going to take a closer look at these two types of images and learn about some of their differences. Stay tuned!
What is a Real Image?
Real images are those that are actually projected onto a screen, as opposed to virtual images, which are only seen in the mind’s eye. Real images are formed when light rays actually intersect at a given point.
- A real image can be inverted or erect, depending on the lens used and the distance from the object. Real images can be projected onto a surface, such as a wall or a screen, and can be captured by a camera.
- Real images can also be viewed with the naked eye, using microscope or telescope lenses. In contrast, virtual images are seen by the brain and cannot be projected or captured in the same way as real images.
- Real images are therefore three-dimensional representations of an object, while virtual images are two-dimensional representations. Real images can be either positive or negative, while virtual images are always positive.
Finally, real images are always inverted when observed through a lens, while virtual images appear erect to the observer. Real images are therefore defined by their physical properties, while virtual images exist only in the mind.
What is a Virtual Image?
- Virtual images are images that are formed in locations where the light actually does not reach. A virtual image-forming device is one where the outgoing rays from a point on the object do not actually pass through the image point.
- A lens creates a virtual image when it is placed between the object and observer such that the lens forms a real image on the same side of the lens as the object. The eye cannot focus a Virtual Image so it appears to be coming from behind the lens.
- This Virtual Image can be projected onto a screen so it can be seen. The Virtual Image is always erect and its distance from the lens is given by a magnification equation. Its size is given by the lateral magnification equation.
Difference between Real Image and Virtual Image
Real images and virtual images are two types of images that are formed when light rays bounce off of an object.
- Real images are images that are actually formed by the light rays, while virtual images are images that are only seen due to the way the light rays interact with the object.
- Real images can be projected onto a screen, while virtual images cannot. Real images are also usually inverted, while virtual images are not.
- Finally, real images can be magnified, while virtual images cannot. Real images are often used in photography and filmmaking, while virtual images are often used in computer graphics and 3D modeling.
The next time you see an online ad or even a post on social media, take a closer look at the images. Are they real? Or have they been manipulated to create a more powerful visual effect? Understanding the difference between real and virtual images can help you be a more critical consumer of digital content and avoid being duped by clever marketing tactics.