my aquarium, and a mirror?

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Offline geo driver

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my aquarium, and a mirror?
« on: 25/05/2010 13:00:25 »
right then guys help me brain out,

my aquarium, a wonderful thing, i can see the fish inside.  when i look through it i can see the wall and my hand at the back of the aquarium, when i look into the aquarium but towards the side glass it turns into a mirror.  why is this?
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Offline graham.d

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my aquarium, and a mirror?
« Reply #1 on: 25/05/2010 14:57:07 »
It is called "total internal reflection". It is the same mechanism which allows prisms to be used in binoculars. It occurs when the angle of incidence is larger than a certain critical value determined by the refractive indices of the materials. The physics is explained in Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_internal_reflection