# I have theta in degrees, X in centimeters, and need to find Y

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• Feb 5th 2009, 07:01 AM
sstecken
I have theta in degrees, X in centimeters, and need to find Y
I have theta in degrees, X in centimeters, and need to find Y

Is the equation to find it:
Y = X * tan(degrees)

Or do I first have to first convert degrees to radians?

I'm getting a (what appears to be) wacky result if I convert the degrees to radians before I plug it into tan.
• Feb 5th 2009, 08:17 AM
star_tenshi
Quote:

Originally Posted by sstecken
I have theta in degrees, X in centimeters, and need to find Y

Is the equation to find it:
Y = X * tan(degrees)

Or do I first have to first convert degrees to radians?

I'm getting a (what appears to be) wacky result if I convert the degrees to radians before I plug it into tan.

You can disregard the units for the lengths of the sides of the triangle when you're performing trig calculations such as these. As long as you keep your length units the same for all three sides in the end, you'll be good.

On the note of units for your angle $\displaystyle \theta$, it depends on how you are calculating it: by hand/mental math? or by calculator?

If it's by a calculator, just make sure that your calculator is set in degrees mode if you're punching in $\displaystyle \theta$ in degrees. Conversely, if you decide to change to radians, make sure your calculator is set in radians mode.
• Feb 5th 2009, 02:53 PM
sstecken
Yep, I was in the wrong mode. Thanks.