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# Chord (geometry) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_(geometry)

Chord (geometry)

A chord of a circle is a geometric line segment whose endpoints both lie on the circle. A secant or a secant line is the line extension of a chord. More generally, a chord is a line segment joining two points on any curve, such as but not limited to an ellipse. A chord that passes through the circle's center point is the circle's diameter.

Contents
1 Chords of a circle 2 Chords of an ellipse 3 Chords in trigonometry 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Chords of a circle
Further information: Chord properties Among properties of chords of a circle are the following:

## The red segment BX is a chord (as is the diameter line AB).

1. Chords are equidistant from the center only if their lengths are equal. 2. A chord that passes through the center of a circle is called a diameter, and is the longest chord. 3. If the line extensions (secant lines) of chords AB and CD intersect at a point P, then their lengths satisfy APPB = CPPD (power of a point theorem). The area that a circular chord "cuts off" is called a circular segment. Chord is from the Latin chorda meaning bowstring.

Chords of an ellipse
The midpoints of a set of parallel chords of an ellipse are collinear.[1]:p.147

Chords in trigonometry
Chords were used extensively in the early development of trigonometry. The first known trigonometric table, compiled by Hipparchus, tabulated the value of the chord function for every 7.5 degrees. In the second century AD, Ptolemy of Alexandria compiled a more extensive table of chords in his book on astronomy, giving the value of the chord for angles ranging from 1/2 degree to 180 degrees by increments of half a degree. The circle was of diameter 120, and the chord lengths are accurate to two base-60 digits after the integer part. The chord function is defined geometrically as in the picture to the left. The chord of an angle is the length of the chord between two points on a
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## Chord (geometry) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_(geometry)

unit circle separated by that angle. The chord function can be related to the modern sine function, by taking one of the points to be (1,0), and the other point to be (cos , sin ), and then using the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the chord length:

The last step uses the half-angle formula. Much as modern trigonometry is built on the sine function, ancient trigonometry was built on the chord function. Hipparchus is purported to have written a twelve volume work on chords, all now lost, so presumably a great deal was known about them. The chord function satisfies many identities analogous to well-known modern ones: Name Pythagorean Half-angle Apothem (a) Angle () Sine-based Chord-based