What are Real and Virtual Images? | Definition, Examples, Diagrams
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What are Real and Virtual Images?

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Real and virtual image - definition

Real image is formed by the actual intersection of light rays. It can be obtained on a screen. Hence, projectors form real images.
Virtual image is formed when the light rays appear to be originating from a point but does not actually meet. It can be seen by human eyes. Hence, rear-view mirrors form virtual images.

Virtual and Real images - definition

Real ImageVirtual Image
Real image can be seen on the screen.Virtual images cannot be formed on the screen.
It is always invertedIt is always erect.
It is formed when ray of light after reflection.refraction meet at some pointIt is formed when ray of light appear to meet at a point.
It is formed due to actual intersection of light ray.It is formed due to imaginary intersection of light ray.


Difference between real and virtual images formed by spherical mirrors - shortcut

  1. A real image is defined as one that is formed when rays of light are directed in a fixed point.  A real image can be projected or seen on a screen. The best example of a real image is the one formed on a cinema screen.
  2. A virtual image is defined as the opposite of a real image, therefore an image that cannot be obtained on a screen is referred to as a virtual image. The explanation for this is the fact that the rays of light that form a virtual image never converge therefore a virtual image can never be projected onto a screen. The best example of a virtual image is your reflection in the mirror.
  3. Real images are produced by intersecting rays while virtual images are produced by diverging rays.
  4. Real images can be projected on a screen while virtual ones cannot.
  5. Real images are formed by two opposite lens, concave and convex.
  6. Virtual images are always upright while real images are always inverted.

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