Course: Science Subtest I
Lesson: Optics and Waves
Topic: How We See      Page 8 of 27  

There are two kinds of reflection: specular and diffuse.

In specular reflection, light hitting the object from one direction is all reflected in another direction. A mirror reflects this way, as does any glossy surface. The still surface of a pond can give a specular reflection.


Specular reflection. Sunlight reflects directly off a shiny penny. If the eye is at the right angle, it will capture the reflected light, and the brain perceives a strong glint of light. From another direction, the penny appears much less bright, as it is just reflecting diffuse, ambient light.