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Math Help - I have theta in degrees, X in centimeters, and need to find Y

  1. #1
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    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.
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  2. #2
    Junior Member star_tenshi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstecken View Post
    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 \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 \theta in degrees. Conversely, if you decide to change to radians, make sure your calculator is set in radians mode.
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  3. #3
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    Yep, I was in the wrong mode. Thanks.
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