There are two common types of curved mirrors – concave and convex mirrors. The reflecting surface may be curved inwards or outwards. When the reflecting surface is curved inwards, it is called concave mirror. If the reflecting surface is curved outwards, it is called convex mirror.
Convex mirrors reflect light outwards. As they are curved outwards, they can reflect wide angles and hence provide a wider field of view. Hence convex mirrors are commonly used as rear-view mirrors in vehicles and at turning points of big parking lots. It helps the driver to view much large area than would be possible with a plane mirror. They are also used in hallways of building, elevators and turnings of parking lots, ATMs. These mirrors always give an erect, though diminished image.
Concave mirrors on the other hand converge or focus the incident light at some point. While convex mirrors make things appear smaller, concave ones magnify the images. When the object is at a distance from the mirror, it forms an inverted image and as the object gets closer to the mirror (within the focus), it forms a magnified image. These mirrors enable the dentists to see the minute details of the tooth in a magnified form. They are also commonly used in torches, vehicles headlights to get powerful parallel beams of light.
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