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Image of a green turtle (Chelonia mydas), reflected in the water above. Credit: Wikimedian Mila Zinkova.


The bouncing back of energy waves—such as light, heat, electricity, or sound—from a surface. If the surface is smooth, the reflection is called regular. Rough surfaces have irregular reflections. An optically smooth surface such as a mirror appears shiny, while an optically rough surface such as brick appears dull. A reflected sound wave is called an echo.