There are three types of asymptotes; horizontal,vertical, and slant.

(1) Vertical asymptotes occur in rational functions when the rational function, written with no common factors in the numerator and denominator, has a factor in the denominator that is zero.

Factoring the expression we get:

`(x(x-7))/(x^3-49x)=(x(x-7))/(x(x+7)(x-7))`

Note the common factor of x-7 -- the function will not be defined at x=7, but there will not be a vertical asymptote there. Most graphing utilities will not even show the "hole" that occurs when x=7.

Also, there is a common factor of x in both numerator and denominator. Again, there will not be a vertical asymptote at x=0.

There will be a vertical asymptote at x=-7.

(2) Horizontal asymptotes occur in rational functions if:

(a) The degree of the numerator is less than the degree of the denominator. Then the horizontal asymptote is y=0.

(b) If the degree of the denominator is equal to the degree of the numerator then the horizontal asymptote occurs at `y=a/b` where a is the leading coefficient of the numerator and b is the leading coefficient of the denominator.

(c) If the degree of the numerator is greater than the degree of the denominator there is no horizontal asymptote, but there may be a slant asymptote.

Here the degree of the numerator is smaller than the degree of the denominator so the horizontal asymptote is y=0.

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There is a vertical asymptote at x=-7. (The function is undefined when x=0 or x=7.)

There is a horizontal asymptote at y=0.

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The graph:

** Note that the function is not defined at x=0 or x=7, despite the apparent value in the graph. There are "holes" in the graph at those points.

**Further Reading**

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