Please explain Polar Coordinates for the purposes of a school project?

2 Answers

durbanville's profile pic

durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Simply put; polar coordinates are used to show how far away a point is and at what angle it is so, for example, you have the length of a diagonal line (r)and the angle formed ``   between the x-axis and the point

(r;`theta` ).You would convert using the cos or sin function depending on what you need to find.  





as opposed to what you are used to with x and y coordinates which measure how far up (on this graph 2) and how far across(4) rendering coordinates of (4;2).

Polar coordinates are used when solving for direction and length from a certain point.  Some otherwise complicated calculations for curves are simplified using polar coordinates. Thus, they are used to show

  how far away a point is and at what angle it is

pramodpandey's profile pic

pramodpandey | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

In Cartesian or xy-plane  points are  written as (x,y) where as in polar coordinate system points are written as (r,`theta` ).

A relation between these two system is defined as

`x=r cos(theta)`

`y=r sin(theta)` `theta=tan^-1(y/x)` and `r=sqrt(x^2+y^2)`  say triangle OBC , angle B=90