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What is Reflection?

Any type of wave can be reflected.
We shall look at the reflection of Sound, Water and Light Waves.
Reflection best occurs from flat, hard surfaces.
After reflection,
a wave has the same speed, frequency and wavelength,
it is only the direction of the wave that has changed.

For light (and other electromagnetic radiation)
a flat shiny surface, like a plane mirror, is a good reflector.
A plane mirror is one that is straight and not curved.

Reflected Light Ray from a Mirror

The light ray that hits the mirror is called the incident ray.
The light ray that bounces off the mirror is called the reflected ray.
The angle of incidence equals the angle of reflectioni = r.
This means that whatever angle the light ray hits the mirror,
it will be reflected off at the same angle
(like snooker balls bouncing off a cushion).

If the surface of the mirror is not smooth but rough or bumpy,
then light will be reflected at many different angles.
The image in the mirror will be blurred and unclear.
This is called diffuse reflection (continued).

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