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Measuring a distance indirectly

To find the height of a tree, a person walks to a point 30 feet from the base of the tree. She measures an angle of 57° between a line of sight to the top of the tree and the ground, as shown in [link] . Find the height of the tree.

A tree with angle of 57 degrees from vantage point. Vantage point is 30 feet from tree.

We know that the angle of elevation is 57° and the adjacent side is 30 ft long. The opposite side is the unknown height.

The trigonometric function relating the side opposite to an angle and the side adjacent to the angle is the tangent. So we will state our information in terms of the tangent of 57° , letting h be the unknown height.

tan θ = opposite adjacent tan ( 57° ) = h 30 Solve for  h . h = 30 tan ( 57° ) Multiply . h 46.2 Use a calculator .

The tree is approximately 46 feet tall.

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How long a ladder is needed to reach a windowsill 50 feet above the ground if the ladder rests against the building making an angle of 5 π 12 with the ground? Round to the nearest foot.

About 52 ft

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Visit this website for additional practice questions from Learningpod.

Key equations

Cofunction Identities cos t = sin ( π 2 t ) sin t = cos ( π 2 t ) tan t = cot ( π 2 t ) cot t = tan ( π 2 t ) sec t = csc ( π 2 t ) csc t = sec ( π 2 t )

Key concepts

  • We can define trigonometric functions as ratios of the side lengths of a right triangle. See [link] .
  • The same side lengths can be used to evaluate the trigonometric functions of either acute angle in a right triangle. See [link] .
  • We can evaluate the trigonometric functions of special angles, knowing the side lengths of the triangles in which they occur. See [link] .
  • Any two complementary angles could be the two acute angles of a right triangle.
  • If two angles are complementary, the cofunction identities state that the sine of one equals the cosine of the other and vice versa. See [link] .
  • We can use trigonometric functions of an angle to find unknown side lengths.
  • Select the trigonometric function representing the ratio of the unknown side to the known side. See [link] .
  • Right-triangle trigonometry permits the measurement of inaccessible heights and distances.
  • The unknown height or distance can be found by creating a right triangle in which the unknown height or distance is one of the sides, and another side and angle are known. See [link] .

Section exercises

Verbal

For the given right triangle, label the adjacent side, opposite side, and hypotenuse for the indicated angle.
A right triangle.

A right triangle with side opposite, adjacent, and hypotenuse labeled.

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When a right triangle with a hypotenuse of 1 is placed in the unit circle, which sides of the triangle correspond to the x - and y -coordinates?

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The tangent of an angle compares which sides of the right triangle?

The tangent of an angle is the ratio of the opposite side to the adjacent side.

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What is the relationship between the two acute angles in a right triangle?

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Explain the cofunction identity.

For example, the sine of an angle is equal to the cosine of its complement; the cosine of an angle is equal to the sine of its complement.

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Questions & Answers

how can are find the domain and range of a relations
austin Reply
A cell phone company offers two plans for minutes. Plan A: $15 per month and $2 for every 300 texts. Plan B: $25 per month and $0.50 for every 100 texts. How many texts would you need to send per month for plan B to save you money?
Diddy Reply
6000
Robert
more than 6000
Robert
can I see the picture
Zairen Reply
How would you find if a radical function is one to one?
Peighton Reply
how to understand calculus?
Jenica Reply
with doing calculus
SLIMANE
Thanks po.
Jenica
Hey I am new to precalculus, and wanted clarification please on what sine is as I am floored by the terms in this app? I don't mean to sound stupid but I have only completed up to college algebra.
rachel Reply
I don't know if you are looking for a deeper answer or not, but the sine of an angle in a right triangle is the length of the opposite side to the angle in question divided by the length of the hypotenuse of said triangle.
Marco
can you give me sir tips to quickly understand precalculus. Im new too in that topic. Thanks
Jenica
if you remember sine, cosine, and tangent from geometry, all the relationships are the same but they use x y and r instead (x is adjacent, y is opposite, and r is hypotenuse).
Natalie
it is better to use unit circle than triangle .triangle is only used for acute angles but you can begin with. Download any application named"unit circle" you find in it all you need. unit circle is a circle centred at origine (0;0) with radius r= 1.
SLIMANE
What is domain
johnphilip
the standard equation of the ellipse that has vertices (0,-4)&(0,4) and foci (0, -15)&(0,15) it's standard equation is x^2 + y^2/16 =1 tell my why is it only x^2? why is there no a^2?
Reena Reply
what is foci?
Reena Reply
This term is plural for a focus, it is used for conic sections. For more detail or other math questions. I recommend researching on "Khan academy" or watching "The Organic Chemistry Tutor" YouTube channel.
Chris
how to determine the vertex,focus,directrix and axis of symmetry of the parabola by equations
Bryssen Reply
i want to sure my answer of the exercise
meena Reply
what is the diameter of(x-2)²+(y-3)²=25
Den Reply
how to solve the Identity ?
Barcenas Reply
what type of identity
Jeffrey
Confunction Identity
Barcenas
how to solve the sums
meena
hello guys
meena
For each year t, the population of a forest of trees is represented by the function A(t) = 117(1.029)t. In a neighboring forest, the population of the same type of tree is represented by the function B(t) = 86(1.025)t.
Shakeena Reply
by how many trees did forest "A" have a greater number?
Shakeena
32.243
Kenard
how solve standard form of polar
Rhudy Reply
what is a complex number used for?
Drew Reply
It's just like any other number. The important thing to know is that they exist and can be used in computations like any number.
Steve
I would like to add that they are used in AC signal analysis for one thing
Scott
Good call Scott. Also radar signals I believe.
Steve
They are used in any profession where the phase of a waveform has to be accounted for in the calculations. Imagine two electrical signals in a wire that are out of phase by 90°. At some times they will interfere constructively, others destructively. Complex numbers simplify those equations
Tim
Practice Key Terms 5

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Source:  OpenStax, Precalculus. OpenStax CNX. Jan 19, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11667/1.6
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