Equation of a line

  • Thread starter PiRsq
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  • #1
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I tried to do this but I dont get the answer as in the book...


A line passes through point (0,4). Its first direction angle is 60°, meaning alpha is 60°.

I found that the second direction angles are 30° and 150° thats is beta is 30° and 150°. But what are the parametric equations of the line for each set of direction angles?

Thx any help appreciated
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
HallsofIvy
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My understanding of "direction angles" for a line is that they are the angles the line makes with each of the coordinate axes. In a two dimensional problem, there are only two direction angles. In this case, since one angle is given as 60 degrees (the angle the line makes with the x-axis) the other angle has to be 30 degrees (in two dimensions, the angles have to add to 90 degrees- direction angles (and direction cosines) are more often used in three or more dimensions). I don't understand why "second direction angles" is plural. I also do not understand what you mean by " the parametric equations of the line for each set of direction angles".
 
  • #3
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I agree with HallsofIvy that a third direction angle makes no sense in this problem. So ignoring that ...

A vector along that line would be
v = i + √(3)j
or <x,y> = <1,&radic;(3)>

So a vector equation for the line in the form
r = r0 + tv (where r0 is the position vector of your point (0,4) and t is the parameter might be
<x,y> = <0,4> + t<1,&radic;(3)> or
<x,y> = <0+t, 4+t&radic;(3)>

and then the parametric equations of the line would be
x = t
y = 4 + t&radic;(3)

Is that the answer given in your book?
 
Last edited:
  • #4
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That was probably too involved. Maybe this is a better answer:

Since you know that &alpha; is 60o, you know that the slope of the line is tan60o = &radic;(3)

So, an equation for the line through point (0,4) with slope &radic;(3) is
y - 4 = &radic;(3) * (x - 0)
y = x&radic;(3) + 4

To parametrise this, let the parameter be t.
Now, since there are no restrictions on x, we can simply let
x = t
and then, since we require that y = x&radic;(3) + 4, substitute the parameter t for x and you get
y = t&radic;(3) + 4

So those are the parametric equations.
 

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