What Color Is A Mirror??

in science •  last year

Did you know that the human eye can differentiate 8-10 million different colors?

Color is a very beautiful thing. The human eye has ability to see different colors.

We can recognize any color just by looking at it. Talking about mirror, it is something that we humans are very used to in our daily life. But let me ask you something very simple about it. Have any of us ever wondered, what color is a MIRROR?

Hello Dear Steemians !!

In this article, we shall be knowing little bit about the color of the mirrors.

So, What color it might be?? Any color popped in your mind yet?? 

The most popular answers to the above question might be silver as we often see it made out of silver or silvery things like aluminium. Or White in a way as mirror reflects all color equally(perfect mirror) or may be no color .

But, in reality, mirror is the color of anything that is placed in front of it. If there is blue wall in front of a mirror, it is blue color and if there is tree in front of it, it is tree color.

If we look at things around us, it can be of any color in millions of different colors. To understand it easily and efficiently, let us take a color RED. When we look at it, why do we see it RED? - Its because, the color of anything depends on any unabsorbed light which are reflected back to our eyes. Here is my article on how we perceive color.

A mirror reflects light in only one outgoing direction. It is called "specular reflection" - the wavelengths that are reflected by mirror surface are organised as per the angle and configuration of their arrival i.e we see the sight of reflection from the same angle as we see the mirror, whereas pigment reflects light in every direction- diffuse reflection.


So specular reflection is the reason why, we can see our reflection in mirror but not in any piece of paper (diffused reflection).

But wait, that is a perfect mirror. In real world, there are no perfect mirrors.

So, these are the basics. Lets hop in to our question- the color of the everyday mirror.

Every typical mirror absorbs a small bit of light, not enough that it matters. If we see a spectrum of light coming from a mirror reflecting the white color, then we will see the mirror reflecting the light of the 510 nano-meter range, which we perceive as a green light. This means the mirror reflects the green light in visible spectrum more than the other colors. Every technically designed mirror looks like a green color. 


How do we prove this??

What we can do simply is take two mirrors and keep them both in front of each other. Here we will see an event called Mirror tunnel. The reflection of both the mirrors will appear as they go to the infinite length of each other reflecting the same scene back and forth. With each new reflection, every single image will lose a little more visual light while going forward in the tunnel but green the least of all. This will make us see less light and more green color as shown in this picture below.



While other colors gradually fade away, green is the color of light which is best reflected by the mirror. Hence green color remains. So, most of the typical mirror technically appears to be green.

This is the explanation of the color of mirrors from the perspective of science.

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Nice article - concise and informative summary of the effects of absorption spectra on perceived colour.


Thanks for your feedback.. Glad you liked it :)

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