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Math Help - Perpendicular bisectors and centres of circles

  1. #1
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    Perpendicular bisectors and centres of circles

    Hi hope someone can help me?

    The question concerns three points A (3,1) B (-1,-11) and C (-5,9) that a circle passes through. I've managed to find the slope, midpoint and perpendicular bisector of AB (y=-x-14/3) and the same for AC(y=x+4). However when I try to find the centre and radius, I can't get the circles equation to balance. (The coordinates of each of the points A,B and C should balance to satisfy the equation).

    Would be very happy if someone could point me in the right direction.

    Many thanks

    Stewpot
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  2. #2
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    Hello, stewpot!

    Your equations for the perpendicular bisectors are off . . .


    Three points on a circle: . A (3,1),\;B (\text{-}1,\text{-}11),\;C (\text{-}5,9)

    Find the equation of the circle.

    The midpoint of AB is: . (1,\text{-}5)
    The slope of AB is: . m_{AB}\,=\,3
    The perpendicular bisector of AB has point (1,\text{-}5) and slope \text{-}\tfrac{1}{3}
    . . ts equation is: . y +5 \:=\:\text{-}\tfrac{1}{3}(x - 1) \quad\Rightarrow\quad \boxed{y \:=\:\text{-}\tfrac{1}{3}x - \tfrac{14}{3}}

    The midpoint of AC is: . (\text{-}1,5)
    The slope of AC is: . m_{AC} \,=\,\text{-}1
    The pependicular bisector of AC has point (\text{-}1,5) and slope +1
    . . Its equation is: .  y - 5 \:=\:1(x+1) \quad\Rightarrow\quad\boxed{ y \:=\:x+6}


    Now try it . . .

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