What Color is a Mirror?

SeaBassSeaBass Posts: 4
Yes, I know there is a Vsauce video on this subject, but i feel that the video leaves the question open ended, and i would love to hear NerdFighterias views on this subject matter. Also You should absolutely go check our Vsauce on Youtube he is quite the character.


  • GaleofMosesGaleofMoses Posts: 2
    If you go back and watch the video you should find that he states that mirrors are very slightly green.
  • _RobbieBlair__RobbieBlair_ UtahPosts: 26
    Well, it tints things a bit green with each reflection, but the mirror itself isn't green. What's really left open is the question of what color is. When you turn off the lights, do colors disappear? What color is a rainbow in the dark?
  • kodrakodra Posts: 36 ✭✭
    You all win because you made me research mirrors and luminosity and once again re-affirmed my solid belief that the internet is full of awesome.

    My initial reaction was that the question is somewhat flawed because we are overloading the word color and really could use some additional terms.

    The problem I see is that we refer to color as the specific wavelength of electromagnetic radiation which we observe as specific color as well as the pigment properties of the objects that reflect said light.

    Pigments are anything that absorb specific wavelengths of light while reflecting back the remainder which our eyes then process into that objects color.  In school we're taught that black objects absorb all light and white object reflect all light.  This gets very frustrating when we're also told that mirrors reflect all light.

    The trick to discovering this answer was as simple as typing "what is the difference between a white object and a mirror" into google, which the helpful nerdfighters over at Stack Exchange Physics answer here (http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/1957/what-is-the-difference-between-a-white-object-and-a-mirror)

    It turns out that the difference is in the way objects reflect light.  So a piece of paper is rough and scatters light in random directions based on what part of the page it strikes.  As such it's receiving the light that the entire room sends at it and bouncing it all back at us in random directions, making it appear white.  

    A mirror is going to take all of that light and bounce it back in a much more uniform pattern, so the pink fleshy light of my face, or the grey light of a puppy sized elephant are going to be reflected back in the direction of that object, which creates the image of the mirrored surface.

    So the answer is that a mirror can be any color so long as it uniformly reflects the light.  Different colored mirrors are going to of course alter the picture, which is why when you look into a bronze mirror you look yellow-y.  If the question is "what color is a standard bathroom mirror", my guess would be something very very close to white because it is reflecting back our image within a strikingly close margin of error.
  • beepbop1011beepbop1011 International Space StationPosts: 645 ✭✭✭
    The colour of the thing it reflects.
    bzz bzz zzz bzz bzz zzz bzz bzz zzz bzz bzz zzz
  • Most people would say a mirror is whatever wavelength of light is reflecting of of it. RAAAAAAAAAA I neeed to THHHIINNNKKK NOOOWWWW
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