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What is trigonometry used for?

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Quick Answer

Trigonometry is used in many fields of applied and practical sciences, such as astronomy, geography, physics and engineering. Trigonometry is used in astronomy to determine the distance from Earth to various nearby stars by observing the parallax shift with Earth's orbit around the Sun as a baseline.

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What is trigonometry used for?
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Trigonometry is useful in geography for surveying prominent landforms and projecting physical features onto maps and globes. In physics, trigonometry is one of the most heavily used mathematical disciplines. It is used to calculate the refractive index of glass, which permits the manufacture of telescopes, microscopes and fiber optic cables, and to better understand physical spaces. Engineers make practical use of trigonometry when determining the angles and design of support structures. A grasp of trigonometry gives engineers a theoretical understanding of distances, load capacities and lines of force. Chemical engineers routinely use trigonometry to predict the natural structure and consequent behavior of the molecules they work with. Beyond these specific applications, trigonometry has a use for nearly any theoretical or practical application that entails the use of space, volume or distance. It also has implications within theoretical mathematics because the way a hypothetical curve arcs through n-space can be described with almost the same equation as the arc of a coastline on a map.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How is trigonometry used in astronomy?

    A:

    Trigonometry is used to measure the distance to stars in the solar system, and the motion of nearby stars compared to more distant stars. The method of measuring distance in space is called trigonometric parallax.

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  • Q:

    How is trigonometry used in physics?

    A:

    Because it has such a strong ability to explain space and the relationships between angles, trigonometry is used in almost every branch of modern physics, according to Clark University. Any field of physics that includes the use of angles or sides uses trigonometry. Some of the first fields in physics, statics and optics relied heavily on trigonometry during their pioneering stages.

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  • Q:

    What is the azimuth angle?

    A:

    The azimuth angle in astronomy is the arc of the horizon measured clockwise from the south point or north point of the horizon to the point on the horizon intersected by the object's line of altitude. The azimuth is measured in degrees.

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  • Q:

    What is an application of trigonometry?

    A:

    One application of trigonometry in the real world is determining the distance and location of faraway objects. This is useful in navigation and in surveying. Historically, trigonometry was also applied to determine the position of heavenly bodies, but this use has been supplanted by linear algebra in modern times.

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