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Trigonometry and Astronomy

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Shreya Mathur

on 28 May 2013

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Transcript of Trigonometry and Astronomy

Uses of Trigonometry in Astronomy Written by Shreya Mathur
Period 1 "What is Astronomy?" A Little Bit About the Role of Trigonometry "What is Trigonometry?" Sources Astronomy is a branch of science that deals with celestial objects, space, and the universe as a whole.
An expert in astronomy is generally
given the name of as astronomer.
Astronomers deal with math, especially trigonometry, every day of their lives. Trigonometry, therefore plays an extremely crucial role. In astronomy, trigonometry is often used to find distances to nearby stars and other celestial objects using a method of parallax.
Parallax can be defined as the apparent shift of a nearby star against the fixed background that can be noticed as the Earth orbits the sun.
This is like when you sit you're sitting in front of your computer. Lean back just a little and hold your thumb in front of you as you close your right eye - your thumb will appear as if it moved to the right. Now the angle between the original position of your thumb and the apparent position of your thumb is the parallax.

Though astronomy has been in existence for thousands of years, it is only recently that trigonometry and astronomy have been paired up, and since then astronomers are not able to do without it. Trigonometry is a branch of mathematics that deals with the relations of the sides and angles of triangles and with the relevant functions of any angles.

Trigonometry comes from the Greek word "trigonometria" - it was put together from these three words - Tri (three), gonia (angle), and metro (measure).

The three main functions of trigonometry include sine (sin), cosine (cos), and tangent (tan). The cofunctions of these are cosecant (csc), secant (sec), and cotangent (cot). This diagram provides formulas -
[1] This formula relates the planet - sun baseline distance to the size of the parallax measured.
[2] This formula shows how the sun - star distance d depends on the planet - sun baseline and the parallax. http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=475
http://www.astronomynotes.com/starprop/s2.htm Though trigonometry is applied in many areas such as chemistry, physics, and engineering, its main use can be associated with astronomy.

The following report will provide insights on how astronomers use trigonometry and how it has provided them, as well as the rest of the world, with essential information about our universe. "How Do I Get Involved In Astronomy?" Classes to Take Salary and Benefits Physics
Advanced Math
Precalculus Calculus
Astrophysics The average salary for astronomers is $97,270 a year, however the average salary for entry level astronomers is about $50,000 a year.

This is great, because it allows one to become an astronomer, but also pursue a different job at the same time - such as a teacher at a research university. This image shows that in astronomy, trigonometry can be used to calculate various distances, and critical angle measurments. With this diagram, one could calculate the distance from the Earth to the Sun, as well as the measures of angles A, and C. Knowing such critical information is essential for the correct placement of telescopes, such as the HUBBLE telescope. To find the distance from Venus to the Sun, astronomers used trigonometry; the Earth, Sun , and Venus form a triangle.

To solve this problem, astronomers took four years going through calculations to make sure numbers were accurate. It was determined that the distance from Venus to the Sun is about 105,000,000 kilometers.
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