Forum Geometricorum Volume 1 (2001) 107–114.
FORUM GEOM ISSN 1534-1178
The Simson cubic
Jean-Pierre Ehrmann and Bernard Gibert
Abstract. The Simson cubic is the locus of the trilinear poles of the Simson lines. There exists a conic such that a point M lies on the Simson cubic if and only if the line joining M to its isotomic conjugate is tangent to this conic. We also characterize cubics which admit pivotal conics for a given isoconjugation.
1. Introduction Antreas P. Hatzipolakis  has raised the question of the locus of points for which the triangle bounded by the pedal cevians is perspective. More precisely, given triangle ABC , let A[P ] B[P ] C[P ] be the pedal triangle of a point P , and consider the intersection points Qa := BB[P ] ∩ CC[P ] , Qb := CC[P ] ∩ AA[P ] , Qc := AA[P ] ∩ BB[P ].
We seek the locus of P for which the triangle Qa Qb Qc is perspective with ABC . See Figure 1. This is the union of (1a) the Darboux cubic consisting of points whose pedal triangles are cevian,1 (1b) the circumcircle together with the line at inﬁnity. The loci of the perspector in these cases are respectively (2a) the Lucas cubic consisting of points whose cevian triangles are pedal,2 (2b) a cubic related to the Simson lines. We give an illustration of the Darboux and Lucas cubics in the Appendix. Our main interest is in the singular case (2b) related to the Simson lines of points on the circumcircle. The curve in (2b) above is indeed the locus of the tripoles3 of the Simson lines. Let P be a point on the circumcircle, and t(P ) = (u : v : w) the tripole of its Simson line s(P ). This means that the perpendicular to the sidelines at the points U = (0 : v : −w), V = (−u : 0 : w), W = (u : −v : 0) (1)
Publication Date: August 24, 2001. Communicating Editor: Paul Yiu. 1 This is the isogonal cubic with pivot the de Longchamps point, the reﬂection of the orthocenter in the circumcenter. A point P lies on this cubic if and only if its the line joining P to its isogonal conjugate contains the de Longchamps point. 2 This is the isotomic cubic with pivot i(H ), the isotomic conjugate of the orthocenter. A point P lies on this cubic if and only if its the line joining P to its isotomic conjugate contains the point i(H ). 3 We use the term tripole as a short form of trilinear pole.
Conway. Ehrmann and B.. denote
1 2 1 1 (b + c2 − a2 ). a point P lies on the cubic if and only if its isotomic conjugate does. 2 2 2 These satisfy a number of basic relations.
. c. A parametrization of the Simson cubic It is easy to ﬁnd a rational parametrization of the Simson cubic. i. We shall. only need the obvious relations SA = SB + SC = a 2 . 2. 4 the equations of these perpendiculars are a2 vy + a2 wz = 0. In the notations of John H. SC = (a2 + b2 − c2 ). b ux + c2 vy + (SA u + SB v )z = 0. This is clearly a self-isotomic cubic. z leads to the cubic E : SA u(v 2 + w2 ) + SB v (w2 + u2 ) + SC w(u2 + v 2 ) − (a2 + b2 + c2 )uvw = 0. We shall call E the Simson cubic of triangle ABC . Gibert
Qc A[ P ] B P
Qb C [P ] Qa
A C B[P ]
are concurrent (at P on the circumcircle). c2 ux Elimination of x. SB = (c2 + a2 − b2 ). however. b. Let P be a point on the circumcircle. SA + SB = c2 . y .e. (SB v + SC w)x + 2 + (SC w + SA u)y + b2 wz = 0.P. S C + SA = b 2 . Regarded as the isogonal conjugate of the inﬁnite point of a
4For a triangle ABC with side lengths a.108
Proposition 1. In fact. This conic has equation 7 (b2 − c2 )2 x2 − 2(b2 c2 + c2 a2 + a2 b2 − a4 )yz = 0.
and is the inscribed ellipse in the anticomplementary triangle with center the symmedian point of triangle ABC . 6The antipode of P has coordinates a2 b2 c2 : : −a2 p + SC q + SB r SC p − b2 q + SA r SB p + SA q − c2 r
7The equation of the nine-point circle is 5If P is an inﬁnite point. the point P has homogeneous barycentric coordinates b2 c2 a2 : : q−r r−p p−q . The pivotal conic C is tritangent to the Simson cubic E at the tripoles of the Simson lines of the isogonal conjugates of the inﬁnite points of the Morley sides. K = (a2 : b2 : c2 ). The Simson cubic E can therefore be regarded as an isotomic cubic with the ellipse C as pivot. and has perspector at the centroid G. where P is the antipode of P (with respect to the circumcircle). As this intersection moves on the nine-point circle. p−q
This means that the tripole of the Simson line s(P ) of P is the point t(P ) = (u : v : w). V . The system (2) therefore gives a rational parametrization of the Simson cubic. We represent this by a symmetric matrix A.
SA x2 − a2 yz = 0. its pedals are the inﬁnite points of the side lines. 6 It is well known that the Simson lines of antipodal points intersect (orthogonally) on the nine-point circle. which is easily seen to be an isolated singularity at the centroid. the isotomic conjugate of t(P ) is the point t(P ). q−r 1 (SC p − b2 q + SA r ).
The pedals of P on the side lines are the points U . s(P ) envelopes the conic C dual to the nine-point circle.
in question is the anticomplementary triangle.The Simson cubic
line px + qy + rz = 0.
. See Figure 2. It also shows that E has a singularity. The triangle Q Q Q a b c
. r−p 1 (SB p + SA q − c2 r ). the line joining the tripoles t(P ). Pivotal conic of the Simson cubic We have already noted that E is a self-isotomic cubic. W in (1) with u = v = w = 1 (−a2 p + SC q + SB r ). t(P ) of the orthogonal Simson lines s(P ). 5 3. The dual conic is then represented by the adjoint matrix of A.
As this triangle is equilateral and inscribed in the nine-point circle. Q. Since C is the dual of the nine-point circle. Since s(P ).
1 ( b− c : 1 ( b+c :
1 c +a −1 c +a
−1 a+b ). s(Q).P. and the directrices are the corresponding lines of reﬂections of the foci in the side lines of triangle ABC .
. s(R) pass through the nine-point center. the following statements are equivalent: (1) t(P ) lies on C ∩ E . Q1 . C and E are tangent at the three points t(P ) for which the Simson lines S (P ) pass through the nine-point center.ellipse at the four points
1 ( b− c : −1 ( b+c : 1 c −a 1 c −a
1 a−b ). then P QR is an equilateral triangle and the Simson lines s(P ). (2) The ellipse C intersects the Steiner circum . In Figure 3. Gibert
Ma t(R) R H Mb
Mc P t(P )
Proof. R1 of HP . we illustrate the parabolas for the incenter and the B -excenter.110
J. HQ. and consider the midpoints P1 . s(Q). If P .
These points are the perspectors of the four inscribed parabolas tangent respectively to the tripolars of the incenter and of the excenters. s(R) pass through P1 . R1 respectively. (3) s(P ) passes through the nine-point center. HR. R are the isogonal conjugates of the inﬁnite points of the side lines of the Morley triangle. P Q respectively. Remarks. RP . these Simson lines are the altitudes of the triangle P1 Q1 R1 . 1 a−b ). (2) s(P ) is tangent to the nine-point circle. s(R) are perpendicular to QR. Thus. s(Q). the Simson lines s(P ). (1) The triangle P QR is called the circum-tangential triangle of ABC in . The foci are the isogonal conjugates of the inﬁnite points of the lines ±ax ± by ± cz = 0. 1 a+b ). Q1 . Ehrmann and B. Let H be the orthocenter of triangle ABC . See .
• Q is the intersection of the line HN with the circumcircle. (ii) the isotomic conjugate of S is the tripole of the line tangent at N to the nine-point circle. There is a third point Q on the circumcircle whose Simson line s(Q) passes through N .
P t(Q ) P t(P ) Q t(P )
. If the line t(P )t(P ) touches C at S . H being the orthocenter. See Figure 4. then (i) S and t(Q ) are harmonic conjugates with respect to t(P ) and t(P ). • The tangent lines at t(P ) and t(P ) to the cubic intersect at t(Q) on the cubic. Intersection of E with a line tangent to C Consider again the Simson line of P and P intersecting orthogonally at a point N on the nine-point circle.The Simson cubic
4. • The line t(P )t(P ) intersects again the cubic at t(Q ).
The ﬁxed points of τ are the points (±f : ±g : ±h). The tangent lines to E at F are the tangent lines to C passing through P .
. q0 = . Consider a circumcubic E invariant under τ . V . In this case. Circumcubic invariant under a quadratic transformation Let E be a circumcubic invariant under a quadratic transformation τ deﬁned by τ (x : y : z ) = f 2 g2 h2 : : x y z . Note that if F lies on C . then E is the τ −cubic with pivot P . If M = (x : y : z ) in barycentric coordinates with respect to ABC . On the other hand. then E degenerates into the union of T and T ∗ . either U . Denote by U . w. if U . (b) If E passes through two ﬁxed points F and. W lie on same line or U V W is perspective with ABC . W are collinear. and T the tangent to C at P .
As the equation of E can be rewritten as p0 q0 r0 + + = 0. their coordinates can be written as in (1) for appropriate choice of u. which form a harmonic quadruple. r0 = . a point Q lies on E if and only if the line joining Q and τ (Q) passes through P . Then. v . p q r where f (hv + gw) g(f w + hu) h(gu + f v ) .P. if C is a conic inscribed in the precevian triangle AF B F C F . so that the line containing them is the tripolar of the point (u : v : w). AF . Gibert
J. then the equation of E is f 2 yz (wy + vz ) + txyz = 0
for some t. the locus of M such as the line M τ (M ) touches C is a τ −cubic with a singularity at F . (a) If E contains exactly one of the ﬁxed points F = (f : g : h). then t = −2(ghu + hf v + f gw). i. The latter case is easier to describe. Ehrmann and B. the tangential coordinates of the line joining M to τ (M ) are
(p : q : r) = gz − hy hx − f z f y − gx : : (g + h − f )(gz + hy ) (h + f − g )(hx + f z ) (f + g − h)(f y + gx) . V . In this case. then with respect to the precevian triangle of F (the three other invariant points).. V .e. If U V W is perspective with ABC at P . then it degenerates into the union of F AF and a conic. p0 = g+h−f h+f −g f +g−h it follows that the line M τ (M ) envelopes a conic inscribed in the precevian triangle of F . W the “third” intersections of E with the side lines. E has a singularity at F .
(1) E is τ −invariant with pivot a conic. and the line y z x + + = 0. the centroid. In this case. The Simson cubic is the particular case F = G. SA SB SC which is the tripolar of the isotomic conjugate of the orthocenter H . = ((f w + hu)x : g(uz + wx) : (f w + hu)z ). and the third intersections of E with the side lines lie on a line . apart from a vertex of triangle ABC . and F = (f : g : h) a point not on nor the side lines of the reference triangle. The locus of M for which the three intersections AM ∩ F U . Proposition 2. BM ∩ F V and CM ∩ F W are collinear is the cubic E deﬁned by (3) above. each of the six lines joining two of these ﬁxed points contains. and if is the tripolar of the point (u : v : w). Proof.
8The center of this conic is the point (f (v + w − u)+ u(g + h − f ) : g (w + u − v )+ v (h + f − g ) :
. because this conic should be tangent to the six lines.
Appendix Proposition 3. a pair of points of E conjugate under τ . = ((gu + f v )x : (gu + f v )y : h(vx + uy )). Let be the tripolar of the point (u : v : w).The Simson cubic
(c) If the cubic E contains none of the ﬁxed points. The following statements are equivalent. In this case. which is clearly impossible. the lines M τ (M ) cannot envelope a conic.
h(u + v − w) + w(f + g − h). W with coordinates given by (1). has a singularity at this point. We close with a summary of the results above. (2) E passes through one and only one ﬁxed points of τ . if E contains the ﬁxed point F = (f : g : h). Let E be a circumcubic and τ a quadratic transformation of the form τ (x : y : z ) = (f 2 yz : g2 zx : h2 xy ).
The corresponding determinant is (f vw + gwu + huv )R where R is the expression on the left hand side of (3). V . These intersections are the points AM ∩ F U BM ∩ F V CM ∩ F W = (f (wy + vz ) : (hv + gw)y : (hv + gw)z ). then the equation of E is −2(ghu + hf v + f gw)xyz +
cyclic 8 The pivotal conic is inscribed in the precevian triangle of F and has equation
ux(h2 y 2 + g2 z 2 ) = 0. intersecting the sidelines of triangle ABC at U .
(gw − hv )2 x2 − 2(ghu2 + 3f u(hv + gw) + f 2 vw)yz = 0.
. Triangle centers and central triangles. 2000. A Morley conﬁguration. Congressus Numerantium.114
J. 129 (1998) 1 – 285. 1 (2001) 51–58. Ehrmann and B.P.fr Bernard Gibert: 10 rue Cussinel. Kimberling.P. October 29.EHRMANN@wanadoo. France E-mail address: b. Ehrmann and B. Gibert. The Darboux and Lucas cubics
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