Ever come across a riddle what color is a mirror?
Possibly many of you will answer, it looks silver to my eyes.
No no, it’s more greyish in shade. To me, it appears to be blue. No, no it’s colorless. It would be transparent then.
Surprisingly, the actual mirror color is beyond your expectation. If you are a student of mirror science, you know the struggle. Let’s kill the suspense and jump straight to the answer.
What color are mirrors? Well, mirrors can be of any color whatever reflects onto it. They look silver because of the metallic (aluminum) coat under its surface. However, science says that the color of the mirror is faint green, neither silver nor white.
Probably no one will be expecting the answer is faint green shade. In this post, you can learn to observe this greenish effect yourself. In the end, you will be able to experiment with it at home.
So keep going!
Do Mirrors Have Colors
Most of us think that mirrors are colorless or transparent. Is this perception true? Are mirrors really colorless? If we say the mirror is colorless it should absorb zero light. But this is not the case even unless we invent a perfect mirror.
It’s wrong to think that mirrors are colorless. It depicts the color of whatever is reflected onto it. However, during reflection, the mirror surface tends to absorb part of the color spectrum. This in turn makes the color of the mirror.
According to studies, mirrors reflect green color light slightly better than others. That’s why when we see the image of one mirror in another it appears to be green in color. Unlike other objects, a mirror tends to reflect light in one direction from where it is coming. It also saves a part of light on its surface to produce a reflection. This saved light makes the color of the mirror.
What is The Real Color of Mirror
Before we move on to reveal the myth of real mirror color, let’s read a survey result. In this survey a simple question was asked to people: What do they think the real color of the mirror is?
Around 98% of people think that mirrors appear grey or silver. Only 1% think mirrors are white or transparent in color. While 1% feel that mirrors are green in reality.
So, the real color of the mirror is not what you expect. It’s neither silver nor white, it is faintly green. Very few people notice this fact. But the reality is that. The perfect mirror should be white but it never exists.
No mirror is created to this perfect standard to reflect back all the light. However, atoms in green color are much better to reflect back than any other color. That’s why mirrors appear to be faint green in shade. But this requires careful observation. You can’t stare at this phenomenon in just a glance.
Is a Mirror Blue
Wondering to know: Is a mirror blue? The reality is that the mirror itself is not blue. It adopts whatever color is in front of you. If it is hanging in the room with blue color walls, it is blue. If it’s hanging on green painted walls, it is green. The color of the mirror depends on how colors work actually.
For example, when we say this object is blue, it means it’s reflecting all colors of light spectrum falling on it except blue. When light falls on the blue object, it scatters or reflects blue light in all directions. This way, it appears blue in our eyes.
The light works differently on the mirror as compared to other objects. The mirror does not reflect light in all directions, instead, it diffuses light in a single direction. No mirror is perfect to give a 100% reflection. A part of the light gets absorbed in it to produce energy. In this way, the light works to boost certain colors in our eyes.
Is A Mirror Green
Studies show that typical mirrors are a bit green. The reason is that every typical mirror reflects light within the 510nanometer range color much better. This range includes green color light. That’s why mirrors actually appear a bit green in color.
You can observe this fact around you. When you see consecutive mirrors in tunnels they look green. The image of the first mirror appears in the second and makes it is greener too. In the end, the color tends to become dimmer because part of the light energy is lost in image creation. That’s why color strength decreases but its still faint green
Is Mirror White in Color
When you inquire what people think about mirror color.? Only a few people will answer that mirrors are white in color. Most of them will say it’s silver.
Saying mirror white in color is not inaccurate in a sense. The reality is that if mirrors are white you may not be able to see your image in it. White color tends to scatter visible lights in all directions. That’s why you can’t see your image on the white paper.
Still, many experts call “mirrors as smart white”. White color spread light coming from it in all directions. On the other hand, mirrors tend to reflect light in a single direction from where it came. I think the myth is solved now! Mirrors are neither white neither transparent neither silver but a bit greenish.
Are Mirrors Silver
When someone questions you about what color is a mirror? Probably the most common reply would be silver. According to the survey, 99% of people think that mirrors are silver in color.
Read this post Why Silver is Used In Coating of Mirror to know more about it.
Mirror itself is not silver but the polish under its glass coat makes it appear silver.
If we observe the mirror surface from both sides, we feel it’s polished from the backside. The front part is a glass coat that supports the back aluminum metallic layer. As metals are mostly shiny, bright and highly reflective in nature. The most common metallic layer for the mirror is aluminum. The silver color is due to the highly reflective nature of the aluminum layer.
Most of the home mirror has an aluminum metallic layer. Previously silver was used to create this metallic layer. In some cases, mercury coating is also used to make the mirror reflective. Now the question is why aluminum, mercury or silver coating is grey. The answer is that these metals have high plasma frequency. It means that the plasma frequency of silver, mercury and aluminum is in the ultraviolet region. They can reflect all types of lower frequency visible lights. That’s the reason you can see in the mirror even light is dim.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are mirrors not white?
Mirrors can’t be necessarily white. If this happens, you may not be able to see your reflection then. As white color tends to reflect all visible wavelengths of the color spectrum. BUt mirror reflects light in a single direction from where it is coming. If mirrors are white, they may not be able to produce images.
Is a mirror Clear?
Its glass looks clear and transparent, not mirrors. The mirrors which are reflective from the front sides are mostly clear. They are made up of material with the same side for light incident and reflection. In such mirrors protective coating is added in the front layer of the mirror. Telescopic mirrors use glass instead of coating.
Well, the myth of what colors are mirrors is solved now! Hopefully, you can give scientific reasons for any questions related to mirror colors.
To summarize, they look silver because of the metallic tint under their surface. They are actually green as they reflect green color better than others. Moreover, they can be of any color which reflects onto it.
Do you still think mirrors are transparent? Why? Bye from this Colorful post. We’ll be right back soon with some other interesting topic!