CalcLab Demos:   Trig Functions    

Construction of the tan curve

The following animation may help you visualize the construction of the tan graph.

To construct a line whose length is tan q, we draw a line tangent to the unit circle at the point ( 1,0). The diameter line at the angle q may be extended to intersect this tangent line forming a right triangle whose base is on the x-axis. Let b be the base and let a be the altitude. So tan q = a/b. Since this is a unit circle, b = 1. Therefore, a = tan q. Thus the altitude of the triangle becomes the height of a point on the graph of tan q.

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Last Updated: September 24, 1998.
Maintained by: Philip B. Yasskin
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Copyright © 1998 Philip B. Yasskin