The color of the mirror has always been a tricky question to understand. What you might have seen in the books or in the movies is the silver color! But, interestingly, you have been tricked to believe so!
This article explores more about the color of mirror and helps us to understand what could be the reason for the same.
But before we delve any further, it is important to understand the concept of color.
How does any object get its color?
What if we tell you that the color of everything around us is the reflection of the pigment it possesses!
The color of every object is nothing more than the reflection of the light after falling on its surface. As the light reaches our eyes, they are perceived as different colors by the cone cells present.
Moreover, it is the absorption of light of different wavelengths that make them reflect light differently to the eyes. These wavelengths that reflect from the surface of the object give different colors, which makes them look pleasing to the eyes.
Understanding the color of the mirror
Before we delve into the reason, let us study a bit more about the specular reflection. Specular reflection is when all the light which falls on the surface of any object is reflected 100%. It means that the component of the light which is absorbed by the object is zero or close to zero.
Whichever object is present in front of it, an image of the same is created using the spectacular reflection.
Yet, it is well known that no mirror is 100% reflective, since there is a silver coating that is present in the inner surface of the mirror.
Due to the silver present in the interior of the mirror, often, there is a green reflection of the light from the mirror, thus having a green tinge in the reflection.
Is it true that a mirror is a queen of camouflage?
To an extent, yes! The light which is reflected from the mirror takes the form of any object which is present in front of the mirror. This means that if you have placed a brown shoe in front of the mirror, the mirror will reflect the brown color.
Or, in other words, the mirror looks brown, as it reflects the shoe.
Now, another factor to remember is the factors which determine how we perceive the color of any object. Primarily, it depends on the following factors:
1. Color of the surrounding: The surrounding color needs to be in contrast to the object’s color getting reflected. If there surrounding is not conducive, it might lead to light not getting reflected efficiently.
2. Absorption coefficient: The amount of light which is absorbed by the surface determines the color of reflection from the surface.
3. Wavelength of reflection: The wavelength of the light which is reflected post reflection is responsible for the particular color of any object. As some wavelengths get absorbed while others reflected, it plays a very important role in determining the color of any object.
What is the ultimate true color of the mirror?
It is a very controversial question to answer. While it might vary, but keeping all the background white, we can say that the color of the mirror is white. Since, the reflection is uniform, the color imparted to the mirror is white.
The coatings on the mirror define the amount of light which is reflected. Mirrors might come along with the coating of different materials and thicknesses too. This leads to the different proportions of the light getting reflected.
Even the angle of incidence plays a major role in the amount of light getting reflected. In other words, the color of the mirror is determined by the angle of incidence.