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Simple Ray Diagram Maker (Flat mirror)

The simple ray diagram maker shows one principal ray leaving a candle of height h and striking a flat mirror.  This ray strikes the mirror a distance h below the flame.  The angle between the reflected ray and the surface normal is the same as that between the incident ray and the normal in accord with the principles of geometric optics. 

Drag the slider that controls the position of the candle base to observe the corresponding motion of the virtual image. The simple geometry shows that the reflection of a candle placed a distance d in front of a mirror will produce a candle image that is a distance d behind the mirror.

Click on steps 1, 2, and 3 to show the procedural steps in drawing a simple ray diagram. Step 1 shows the line used to find the position of the image equidistant from the mirror as the object. Step 2 shows the ray from the image to the eye (observer). While step 3 shows the ray from the object reflecting off the mirror.

Dotted lines are used to represent virtual rays.

Dray the eye to control the position of the eye which shows how the principal ray can travel from the object reflecting off the mirror and finally reaching the eye.


The Simple Ray Diagram Maker was developed by Richmond Ang by modifying the The Flat Mirror Model developed by Wolfgang Christian, Francisco Esquembre, and Mario Belloni using the Easy Java Simulations (EJS) version 5.0 authoring and modeling tool.

Simple Ray Diagram

For Teachers


Software Requirements


Android iOS Windows MacOS
with best with Chrome Chrome Chrome Chrome
support fullscreen? Yes. Chrome/Opera No. Firefox/ Sumsung Internet Not yet Yes Yes
cannot work on some mobile browser that don't understand JavaScript such as..... cannot work on Internet Explorer 9 and below



Wolfgang Christian - Davidson College; Francisco Esquembre - U. Murcia; Mario Belloni - Davidson College

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