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Understanding Tangent and Cotangent

  1. Mar 5, 2015 #1
    I believe I understand both, for instance tangent is equal to y/x and so when you have something like root3/3 it would be equal to the points (root3/2 (x coordinate), and 1/2(y coordinate.) For Cotangent equal to zero, would be (0,1) and (0, -1) am I off base here? I think also that Cot is equal to x/y.
     
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  3. Mar 5, 2015 #2

    SteamKing

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    You can check your calculations here.

    tan θ = y / x

    If x = (√3) / 2 and y = 1 / 2, then what is y / x = ?

    By definition, cot (θ) = 1 / tan (θ) = cos (θ) / sin (θ)

    In order for cot (θ) = 0, this implies that cos (θ) = 0

    For which values of θ does cos (θ) = 0? (Hint: check using the unit circle.)
     
  4. Mar 5, 2015 #3
    When you take a root, you want both positive and negative answers on the unit circle yes?
     
  5. Mar 5, 2015 #4

    SteamKing

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    That's irrelevant in this case.

    Your specific example involved x = (√3) / 2 and y = 1 / 2.

    If you do the arithmetic to calculate y / x, what number do you get?
     
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