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Circle illustration showing a radius, a diameter, the centre and the circumference

Tycho crater, one of many examples of circles that arise in nature. ©

A is a simple shape of Euclidean geometry consisting of those points in a plane which are

equidistant from a given point called the (British English) or (American English).

The common distance of the points of a circle from its centre is called its

.

Circles are simple closed curves which divide the plane into two regions, an interior and an

exterior. In everyday use, the term "circle" may be used interchangeably to refer to either the

boundary of the figure (also known as the
) or to the whole figure including its

interior. However, in strict technical usage, "circle" refers to the perimeter while the interior of

the circle is called a . The perimeter of a circle is also known as the

,

especially when referring to its length.

A circle is a special ellipse in which the two foci are coincident. Circles are conic sections

attained when a right circular cone is intersected with a plane perpendicular to the axis of the

cone.

]

The
of a circle is

the length of a line segment

whose endpoints lie on the

circle and which passes

through the centre of the

circle. This is the largest

distance between any two

points on the circle. The

diameter of a circle is twice

its radius.

Chord, secant, tangent, and diameter.Arc, sector, and segment

As well as referring to

lengths, the terms "radius" and "diameter" can also refer to actual line segments (respectively, a

line segment from the centre of a circle to its perimeter, and a line segment between two points

on the perimeter passing through the centre). In this sense, the midpoint of a diameter is the

centre and so it is composed of two radii.

A of a circle is a line segment whose two endpoints lie on the circle. The diameter,

passing through the circle's centre, is the longest chord in a circle. A to a circle is a

straight line that touches the circle at a single point, thus guaranteeing that all tangents are

perpendicular to the radius and diameter that stem from the corresponding contact point on the

circumference. A is an extended chord: a straight line cutting the circle at two points.

An of a circle is any connected part of the circle's circumference. A is a region

bounded by two radii and an arc lying between the radii, and a
is a region bounded by a

chord and an arc lying between the chord's endpoints.

]

The compass in this 13th century manuscript is a symbol of God's act of Creation. Notice also

the circular shape of the halo

The etymology of the word circle is from the Greek, kirkos "a circle," from the base ker- which

means to turn or bend. The origin of the word "circus" is closely related as well.

The circle has been known since before the beginning of recorded history. Natural circles would

have been observed, such as the Moon, Sun, and a short plant stalk blowing in the wind on sand,

which forms a circle shape in the sand. The circle is the basis for the wheel, which, with related

inventions such as gears, makes much of modern civilization possible. In mathematics, the study

of the circle has helped inspire the development of geometry, astronomy, and calculus.

Early science, particularly geometry and astrology and astronomy, was connected to the divine

for most medieval scholars, and many believed that there was something intrinsically "divine" or

"perfect" that could be found in circles.[Ê

]

2Y 1700 BC ± The Rhind papyrus gives a method to find the area of a circular field. The

result corresponds to 256/81 (3.16049...) as an approximate value of ʌ.[1]

2Y 300 BC ± Book 3 of Euclid's Elements deals with the properties of circles.

2Y In Plato's Seventh Letter there is a detailed definition and explanation of the circle. Plato

explains the perfect circle, and how it is different from any drawing, words, definition or

explanation.

2Y 1880 ± Lindemann proves that ʌ is transcendental, effectively settling the millennia-old

problem of squaring the circle.[2]

]

]

?

The ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter is ʌ (pi), an irrational constant that takes the

same value (approximately 3.141592654) for all circles. Thus the length of the circumference (Ê)

is related to the radius () by

) by

]

§ Ê

As proved by Archimedes, the area enclosed by a circle is ʌ multiplied by the radius squared:

,

that is, approximately 79% of the circumscribing square (whose side is of length

).

The circle is the plane curve enclosing the maximum area for a given arc length. This relates the

circle to a problem in the calculus of variations, namely the isoperimetric inequality.

]

Circle of radius = 1, centre (, ) = (1.2, -0.5)

In an - Cartesian coordinate system, the circle with centre coordinates (, ) and radius is the

set of all points (, ) such that

This equation of the circle follows from the Pythagorean theorem applied to any point on the

circle: as shown in the diagram to the right, the radius is the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle

whose other sides are of length í and í . If the circle is centred at the origin (0, 0), then

the equation simplifies to

The equation can be written in parametric form using the trigonometric functions sine and cosine

in a polar coordinate system as

where is a parametric variable, interpreted geometrically as the angle that the ray from the

origin to (, ) makes with the -axis. Alternatively, a rational parametrization of the circle is:

projection of the circle onto the line passing through the centre parallel to the -axis.

In homogeneous coordinates each conic section with equation of a circle is of the form

It can be proven that a conic section is a circle if and only if the point I(1: i: 0) and J(1: íi: 0) lie

on the conic section. These points are called the circular points at infinity.

]

where is the radius of the circle, 0 is the distance from the origin to the centre of the circle, and

ĳ is the anticlockwise angle from the positive -axis to the line connecting the origin to the

centre of the circle. For a circle centred at the origin, i.e. 0 = 0, this reduces to simply = .

When 0 = , or when the origin lies on the circle, the equation becomes

= 2cos(ș í ĳ).

In the general case, the equation can be solved for r, giving

the solution with a minus sign in front of the square root giving the same curve.

In the complex plane, a circle with a centre at Ê and radius () has the equation .

In parametric form this can be written = + Ê.

sometimes called a generalised circle. This becomes the above equation for a circle with

, since . Not all

generalised circles are actually circles: a generalised circle is either a (true) circle or a line.

]

The tangent line through a point
on the circle is perpendicular to the diameter passing through

. If
= (1, 1) and the circle has centre (, ) and radius , then the tangent line is

perpendicular to the line from (, ) to (1, 1), so it has the form (1í)x+(1í)y = Ê. Evaluating

at (1, 1) determines the value of Ê and the result is that the equation of the tangent is

(1 í ) + (1 í ) = (1 í )1 + (1 í )1

or

If 1b then slope of this line is

When the centre of the circle is at the origin then the equation of the tangent line becomes

and its slope is

]

2Y The circle is the shape with the largest area for a given length of perimeter. (See

Isoperimetric inequality.)

2Y The circle is a highly symmetric shape: every line through the centre forms a line of

reflection symmetry and it has rotational symmetry around the centre for every angle. Its

symmetry group is the orthogonal group O(2,). The group of rotations alone is the circle

group .

2Y All circles are similar.

VY A circle's circumference and radius are proportional.

VY The area enclosed and the square of its radius are proportional.

AY The constants of proportionality are 2ʌ and ʌ, respectively.

2Y The circle which is centred at the origin with radius 1 is called the unit circle.

VY Thought of as a great circle of the unit sphere, it becomes the Riemannian circle.

2Y Through any three points, not all on the same line, there lies a unique circle. In Cartesian

coordinates, it is possible to give explicit formulae for the coordinates of the centre of the

circle and the radius in terms of the coordinates of the three given points. See

circumcircle.

] c

2Y Chords are equidistant from the centre of a circle if and only if they are equal in length.

2Y The perpendicular bisector of a chord passes through the centre of a circle; equivalent

statements stemming from the uniqueness of the perpendicular bisector:

VY A perpendicular line from the centre of a circle bisects the chord.

VY The line segment (circular segment) through the centre bisecting a chord is

perpendicular to the chord.

2Y If a central angle and an inscribed angle of a circle are subtended by the same chord and

on the same side of the chord, then the central angle is twice the inscribed angle.

2Y If two angles are inscribed on the same chord and on the same side of the chord, then

they are equal.

2Y If two angles are inscribed on the same chord and on opposite sides of the chord, then

they are supplemental.

VY For a cyclic quadrilateral, the exterior angle is equal to the interior opposite angle.

2Y An inscribed angle subtended by a diameter is a right angle (see Thales' theorem).

2Y The diameter is the longest chord of the circle.

2Y If the intersection of any two chords divides one chord into lengths and and divides

the other chord into lengths Ê and

, then = Ê

.

2Y If the intersection of any two perpendicular chords divides one chord into lengths and

2 2 2 2

and divides the other chord into lengths Ê and

, then + + Ê +

equals the

square of the diameter.

]

2Y The sagitta (also known as the versine) is a line segment drawn perpendicular to a chord,

between the midpoint of that chord and the arc of the circle.

2Y Given the length of a chord, and the length of the sagitta, the Pythagorean theorem

can be used to calculate the radius of the unique circle which will fit around the two lines:

Another proof of this result which relies only on two chord properties given above is as follows.

Given a chord of length and with sagitta of length , since the sagitta intersects the midpoint of

the chord, we know it is part of a diameter of the circle. Since the diameter is twice the radius,

the ³missing´ part of the diameter is (2 í ) in length. Using the fact that one part of one chord

times the other part is equal to the same product taken along a chord intersecting the first chord,

we find that (2 í ) = (/2)². Solving for , we find the required result.

]

2Y The line perpendicular drawn to a radius through the end point of the radius is a tangent

to the circle.

2Y A line drawn perpendicular to a tangent through the point of contact with a circle passes

through the centre of the circle.

2Y Two tangents can always be drawn to a circle from any point outside the circle, and these

tangents are equal in length.

2Y If a tangent at and a tangent at intersect at the exterior point
, then denoting the

center as , the angles â and â
are supplementary.

2Y If is tangent to the circle at and if is a chord of the circle, then â =

arc( ).

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