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Point-Line Distance--2-Dimensional

The equation of a line

in slope-intercept form is given by (1 )

so the line has slope . Now consider the distance from a point on the line have the vector coordinates

to the line. Points

( ) Therefore! the vector (" ) is parallel to the line! and the vector (# ) is perpendicular to it. Now! a vector from the point to the line is given by ($ ) Pro%ecting onto ! (&) (') (() ())

(1* ) (11 )

+f the line is specified by two points the line is given by


! then a vector perpendicular to (1 )

,et be a vector from the point

to the first point on the line (1" )

then the distance from

to the line is again given by pro%ecting onto ! giving (1# )

-s it must! this formula corresponds to the distance in the three-dimensional case (1$ ) with all vectors having .ero -components! and can be written in the slightly more concise form (1& ) where denotes a determinant. and a line

The distance between a point with e/act trilinear coordinates is

(1' )

Point-Line Distance--3-Dimensional

,et a line in three dimensions be specified by two points lying on it! so a vector along the line is given by


(1 ) The squared distance between a point on the line with parameter and a point therefore is ( ) To minimi.e the distance! set and solve for to obtain (" ) where denotes the dot product. The minimum distance can then be found by plugging bac0 into ( ) to obtain

1sing the vector quadruple product ('

) where denotes the cross product then gives (( ) and ta0ing the square root results in the beautiful formula ()) (1* ) (11 ) 2ere! the numerator is simply twice the area of the triangle formed by points ! ! and ! and the denominator is the length of one of the bases of the triangle! which follows since! from the usual triangle area formula! . 344 -,356 7ollinear! ,ine! Point! Point-,ine 8istance-- -8imensional! Triangle -rea


Three or more points ! ! ! ...! are said to be collinear if they lie on a single straight line . - line on which points lie! especially if it is related to a geometric figure such as a triangle! is sometimes called an a/is. Two points are trivially collinear since two points determine a line. Three points for ! ! " are collinear iff the ratios of distances satisfy (1 ) - slightly more tractable condition is obtained by noting that the area of a triangle determined by three points will be .ero iff they are collinear (including the degenerate cases of two or all three points being concurrent)! i.e.! ( ) or! in e/panded form! (" ) This can also be written in vector form as (# ) where is the sum of components! ! and .

The condition for three points ! ! and to be collinear can also be e/pressed as the statement that the distance between any one point and the line determined by the other two is .ero. +n three dimensions! this means setting in the point-line distance ($ ) giving simply

(& ) where denotes the cross product. 3ince three points are collinear if collinear points in three dimensions satisfy for some constant ! it follows that

(' ) (( ) by the rules of determinant arithmetic. 9hile this is a necessary condition for collinearity! it is not sufficient. (+f any single point is ta0en as the origin! the determinant will clearly be .ero. -nother countere/ample is provided by the noncollinear points ! ! ! for which but .) Three points determinant ! ! and in trilinear coordinates are collinear if the

() ) (:imberling 1))(! p. )). ,et points ! ! and lie! one each! on the sides of a triangle or their e/tensions! and reflect these points about the midpoints of the triangle sides to obtain ! ! and . Then ! ! and are collinear iff ! ! and are (2onsberger 1))$). 344 -,356 -/is! 7oncyclic! 7onfiguration! 8irected -ngle! 8ro.-;arny Theorem! <eneral Position! ,ine! N-7luster! Point-,ine 8istance--"-8imensional! 3ylvester=s ,ine Problem