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# Help Zone

### Student Question

Secondary V • 2yr.

Hi! I’m confusing refraction and reflection. When I look at myself in a mirror, which of the two concepts is it? And what about when I see my straw strangely when it's in my glass of water? Thank you for your help!

Physics

## Explanations (1)

• Explanation from Alloprof

Explanation from Alloprof

This Explanation was submitted by a member of the Alloprof team.

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Team Alloprof • 2yr.

Hi 😊!

The phenomena of reflection and refraction are responsible for a certain deflection of light rays in different ways.

In terms of reflection, it is a bounce of light on a reflective surface. The light will not pass through the latter: it will rather be returned to its initial environment. This is the phenomenon that explains how mirrors work: light bounces off the surface and can be received by our eyes to allow us to see ourselves.

As for refraction, it is a deflection of light that results from its passage from one medium to another. This deflection is caused by the change in the speed of light, which changes depending on the degree of refringence of a medium. This explains why your straw seems to be broken in your glass: since water is a more refractive medium than air, light is refracted.