Strange Optical Phenomenon (mirror in shower)

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Neddy Bate, Oct 19, 2021.

  1. Neddy Bate Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,275
    UPDATE:

    For anyone interested, I have proven to my own satisfaction that the effect is eye-specific. That is, the left eye is the only eye which sees the left eye with a "hovering pupil effect", and the right eye is the only eye which sees the right eye with a "hovering pupil effect". This can be established by holding up one hand and aligning one fingertip to cover one pupil in the reflected image. Even though both eyes remain open, and both eyes can be seen in the mirror, only one eye is seen to have the hovering pupil effect, like this:

    BEFORE:

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    AFTER:

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    The reason the fingertip does not appear to cover the pupil in the drawing is because this image is what the right eye sees. Due to parallax, the right eye does not see the fingertip covering the pupil, as it appears just slightly misaligned. But the left eye does see the fingertip covering the pupil, which makes the "hovering pupil effect" disappear.
     
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  3. Neddy Bate Valued Senior Member

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    TIPS FOR REPLICATING THE "HOVERING PUPILS EFFECT" YOURSELF:

    1. Make sure your mirror is very clean. Use window cleaner to make it as clean as possible. In order to replicate this effect in a different shower with a different mirror, I had to clean the mirror with window cleaner. Also...

    2. Your bathroom light is probably not situated in the right place, and probably not bright enough. In order to replicate the effect in a different shower, I had to use a very bright LED and hold it above and just behind my head. I used a portable outdoor motion activated LED like this one:

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    Move the light around until you can see the effect. Once you see it, you will be as curious as I am about what in the world could possibly be the explanation for this. I still can't figure it out.
     
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