What is the difference between a real and virtual image?

  • 2 votes

I don't really get the difference between the two? I mean, I kind of do, but I fail when the past papers ask that I give a definition. Could anyone give me one for a real and virtual image please.

Posted Wed 25th May, 2011 @ 16:20 by Zak Nathan

6 Answers

  • 4 votes

A real image is formed at the intersection of real rays.  Images formed this way can be formed onto a screen.  A virtual image is formed at the intersection of virtual rays, i.e: where light rays appear to have come from when they diverge.  Images formed this way cannot be formed on a screen.

N.B. (This is directed at 'N. M') A real image can be upright or inverted, it just depends on what mirror or lens is being used and at what distance the object is from the lens.

Answered Wed 25th May, 2011 @ 17:53 by Josh
  • 3 votes

a real image is formed if the rays join on the opposite side of the mirror if its one where the diverging rays are dotted to the other side where they meet its virtual

Answered Wed 25th May, 2011 @ 17:22 by Lauren Jade Tutchener
  • 1 vote

A real image is one which actully forms. A virtual image is one which only appears to form. A good way to distinguish between them is that real image is alwaya inverted and a virtual image is always errect unless they are again reflected or refracted. You could also mention that light rays do not meet after refracted in a virtual image, whereas in real images they do.

Answered Wed 25th May, 2011 @ 16:44 by N. M
  • 1 vote

virtual images appear to come from behind the mirror/lens!x

Answered Wed 25th May, 2011 @ 17:01 by Kelly:)
  • 1 vote

I think you will find this video useful, I did anyway!:)

Answered Wed 25th May, 2011 @ 22:06 by Spongebob:)
  • 1 vote

a virtual image is identified at the intersection of the virtual rays. In ray diagrams it appears to be dotted. Virtual is not really there, real is  when its the actual rays of light. virtual is only appearing to form

Answered Thu 26th May, 2011 @ 14:22 by Kavita :)