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Discover: What Color is a Mirror?

Mirrors are always intriguing when it comes to optical illusions, privacy, and other optional applications such as a creating a Hidden Television. However, have you ever thought about what color a mirror is?

When you see an object, the color it does not absorb, is the color that it is. For example, when we look at a the needle on a Pine Tree, we see that it is green. That means it absorbs every color wavelength of light except for the color green, and reflects the green color back to you.

Is a mirror white?

Phil Plait (an astronomer, author, and science communicator) once stated:

“A white shirt just reflects light back everywhere in all directions. Even if red and blue light hit the shirt coming from the same direction, they may get scattered in different directions. A mirror, on the other hand, reflects the blue and red light in the same direction, and so the mirror actually builds an image of the source of the light.”

So, does that make a mirror white? Well, not technically. We call a mirror “smart” white due to this definition, but only for a perfect mirror. However, a “perfect mirror” doesn’t exist. Even if it did, it wouldn’t be the one hanging over your bathroom sink.

Mirror reflections:

Mirrors actually do reflect one wavelength stronger than the other, which is the color green. If you look into a mirror tunnel, you’ll see the smaller the mirrors get, the more of a green tint they have.

For more information on what color a mirror is, watch the following video! VSauce gives a great definition of how a mirror reflects color, and why it has a green tint.

If you would like to read more about the coloration of a mirror, be sure to check out these websites!

Science Focus

Mental Floss Mirror

There you have it! Fun facts about mirrors, that might help you in your infinity mirror creations!

What mirror facts do you know? Leave them in the comments below!

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