Differences Between Real Image and Virtual Image 2024

What is an image?

Before we journey deeper and longer into understanding what a real image is and what a virtual image is, let us try and understand what an image is. An image is a point that is formed when a light ray coming from an object meets at a certain point of refraction or reflection, based on the type and density of the medium. As you know there are two types of images – real image and virtual image. In the following sections, we will talk about real image and virtual image differences in much more detail.

In terms of assortment, for an easier understanding

As you know, in optics, a composition or integration of focus points of light rays that emit from an object is referred to as an image.

This assortment where rays converged forms a real image, while an extension of diverging rays refers to a virtual image

What is a Real Image?

A real image is defined as the image formed by the converging rays when a light ray is coming from an object. This type of image is generally formed by using converging lenses and concave mirrors. However, for the real image to be formed, the object must be placed at some distance from the mirrors or lenses than the focal point. More importantly, you should remember that the real image is inverted. Furthermore, the real image is always formed on the screen, unlike the virtual image.

When you use concave mirrors and converging lenses, the real image is produced. But there is a condition – the object must be positioned significantly farther from the lenses or mirrors, than the focal point, and with the image inverted.

When the light rays converge at a spot after reflection or refraction, a real image is placed on a screen.

The backward extension of refracted or reflected light rays is true for a virtual image; that is, it doesn’t exist.

In the case of a convex lens, when you place an object near or at a distance that is equal to or shorter than the focal length, the real image is derived. This is exactly what you derive when a concave mirror is used, not when the object is positioned at a distance that is less than or equal to that of the focal point; and thus comes the real image.

Real Image examples

We are all familiar with a cinema screen where the film is projected on the screen, through a projector. This is one of the classic real image examples. The image is reflected on the screen as it is created on the detector in the backside of the camera or the image that is produced on the retina of an eyeball.

What is a Virtual Image?

When a light ray is formed by diverging rays, resulting in the collection of focal points is referred to as a virtual image. Moreover, for this process, the object should be placed near the focal point, and the image will be formed at infinity. However, for the image to be formed, the object should be crossing the focal point. Besides this, the virtual image is upright, and it is formed generally by concave, convex, or plane mirrors.

If you look at any regular diagram or illustration of a virtual image it can be noted that it is formed by tracing real rays that emanate out of optical devices such as lenses and mirrors. This happens in the backward movement to the origins of ray divergences.

As the rays do not converge, the virtual image is not formed on a screen, which it is not the case of a real image. This is a major difference between a real image and a virtual image.

Virtual image examples

Nothing can be easier or more obvious than the reflection in a plane mirror, among the virtual image examples. The light from the source exists in the mirror, even if the rays are emanating from the rear side of the mirror. The image is not magnified in the case of a plane mirror, the size of the object and the image being the same, and thus it appears as if it is far behind the mirror as the object is before the mirror.

Ray Diagrams of Virtual and Real Images

Ray Diagram of Virtual Image

As you can see from the above sections, the Real Image is formed, when the light rays converge between the focal point and curvature. While the virtual is formed when the light rays cross the focal point towards the screen.

Differences Between Real Image and Virtual Image

Now that we have covered the basic details of the Real Image and Virtual Image. Let us talk about the various differences between them in much more detail below.

 Parameters Real Image Virtual Image Definition This image forms, when the light rays converge at a point after reflection. When an image is formed when the light rays meet after the reflection of the mirror. Then it is called a virtual image. Image Formation An inverted image is formed. An upright or Erect image is formed. Types of Lenses Converging Lens Diverging Lens Mirrors Concave Mirror Concave, Convex, and Plane Mirror The intersection of Light Ways Actual Intersection of Light Rays Imaginary Intersection of Light Rays

Conclusion

The above article might have helped you understand all about the real image vs virtual image and how they are formed. For people who are struggling to understand complex topics or chapters in physics, online coaching might be helpful for you, to grasp the topics more easily, and get better scores on the examination. Then the Online Interactive Classes offered by the Tutoroot Platform might be very helpful