Miracle Mirror


The Miracle Mirror is a plastic hemisphere that is coated with aluminum to create a concave mirror on the inside and a convex mirror on the outside, permitting a variety of fascinating experiments on the differences between the two types of reflecting surfaces. The life-like image projected from the concave side is particularly dramatic and unexpected. It appears as though the reflected image (of a finger, for example) is popping right out of the mirror.

Sample Observations and Experiments

  1. Observing life-like images: When an object, such as a finger, is inserted into the interior of the hemisphere, the reflected image seems to pop out with a dramatically life-like appearance.
  2. Projecting a life-like image: Attach a small object, like a pea, approximately 20cm from the edge of a sheet of cardboard. Turn the cardboard upside down and bring it close to the Miracle Mirror. The reflected image of the pea will appear to float inside the mirror, and while it appears to be life-like, it cannot be grasped.
  3. Illuminating the life-like reflection: To distinguish the real object from the life-like reflection, direct the beam of a flashlight (which projects parallel light rays) onto the reflected image created in #2 above. The shadow of the real pea will appear.
  4. Reflected sunlight will cause a piece of paper to burn at the focal point of the concave mirror. SAFETY NOTE: Do not leave the mirror in the sun because its rays can focus on the concave mirror and cause serious burns (adult supervision recommended).
  5. As you bring your hand near the mirror, the reflected image is dramatically distorted, with the closer portion of the hand appearing larger than the more distant portion.
  6. When the concave mirror is 70~80% filled with water, a swaying ball appears. When you place your finger into the water, the reflected image seems to jump out of the water. (The effect is best when you place your finger slightly off the center of the hemisphere.)