There are two forms of image real image and a virtual image. The difference between the real image and a virtual image is the way they are produced. To obtain a real image, the light rays converge while to obtain a virtual image, the light rays diverge. Let us now understand what is the difference between real image and virtual image.
What is the Real Image?
Real images are the type of images that are formed due to the convergence of light rays at a point after being reflected or refracted from a mirror or lens.
What is a Virtual Image?
The images that only appear to be formed at a position behind a mirror is termed as a virtual image. Actually, the image is not present behind the mirror. A virtual image forms when reflected or refracted light rays diverge.
Difference Between Real Image and a Virtual Image
The important difference between the real image and a virtual image
|Parameters||Real Image||Virtual Image|
|Definition||The real image is the image, which forms when the light rays meet at a particular point after reflection from the mirror.||The image, which forms when the light rays appear to meet at a definite point, after reflection from the mirror, is termed as a virtual image.|
|Interaction of light rays||Rays actually converge||Rays perceived to converge|
|Image formed||The image formed is inverted||The image formed is upright or erect|
|Lens used||Converging Lens||Diverging Lens|
|Mirror used||Concave Mirror||Convex, Concave and Plane Mirror|
|Image reception||We can obtain a real image on a screen.||We cannot obtain a virtual image on the screen. In fact, the Image appears to be on the mirror or lens itself.|
After learning about the difference between the real image and a virtual image, it is important to know the details of the real image and a virtual image thoroughly.
We can define a real image as one that is formed when rays of light are directed at a fixed point. We can obtain a real image on a screen. Therefore, to obtain a real image the light source and the screen must be placed on the same plane. We can obtain the image by using a converging lens or a concave mirror.
The size of the image depends upon the placement of the object. At a point where light rays undergo interaction with each other at that point real image forms. Real images are inverted in nature and can be seen on the screen.
Suppose an object is placed in front of the concave mirror and light after getting reflected from that object strikes the surface of the concave mirror. When multiple light rays strike the mirror, then by following the laws the reflection, the different light rays again reflect and meet at a point in front of the mirror. Light rays actually get focussed at a certain position, and at that particular position, a visible image of that object is formed. It is noteworthy here that after converging at a point, the rays diverge from that particular point.
An image that we cannot obtain on a screen is a virtual image. The virtual image is an upright image that can be achieved where the rays seem to diverge but do not converge in reality. With the help of a diverging lens or a convex mirror, we can produce a virtual image.
When light from an object is allowed to strike the mirror then light rays get reflected from the mirror and it looks like that the rays are diverging somewhere behind the mirror. Actually, no light reaches the behind the mirror, thus rays appear to meet somewhere, as it is simply the perception of the viewer. Virtual images are not displayed on the screen.
The images produced by the plane mirrors are specifically of virtual type. Another important point about virtual images is that they are not imaginary. Therefore, virtual images possess definite shape and size and hence we can see images by the eye or any optical instrument.
FAQs about Real image and Virtual image
Q1.Why cannot I see a virtual image on a screen?
Answer: In order to see an image on a screen, light rays must come to a focus on a screen. In reality, there are no actual light rays that come together at the virtual image location. We can say that they cannot reflect on a screen at that point.
Q2. A movie projector forms real images. Why it is not inverted?
Answer: A movie projector uses two mirrors. They use the first mirror to concentrate light source and uses the second mirror to focus the images on the screen. As the images invert twice, final images are erect.