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Polar Coordinates

A way to describe the location of a point on a plane. A point is given coordinates (r, θ). r is the distance from the point to the origin. θ is the angle measured counterclockwise from the polar axis to the segment connecting the point to the origin.

Note: With polar coordinates a given point has many possible representations. θ has many possible values depending on which coterminal angle is chosen, and r can be positive or negative.

 

 

 

See also

Polar-rectangular conversion formulas, area using polar coordinates, polar derivative formulas, parametric equations

 


  this page updated 21-feb-16
Mathwords: Terms and Formulas from Algebra I to Calculus
written, illustrated, and webmastered by Bruce Simmons
NCTM Web Bytes December 2004 Web Bytes March 2005 Web Bytes