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98 CHAPTER 2.

EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY
Exercise 2.6.13. Show the converse to the preceding exercise, that is, that the
bisector of the angle made by two tangents from a point outside a circle to the circle
must pass through the center of the circle. [Hint: Try a proof by contradiction.]
Exercise 2.6.14. Let c and c

be externally tangent at T. Show that there are


two lines that are tangent to both circles (at points other than T). [Hint: Let m
be the line through the centers. Consider the two radii that are perpendicular to
m. Let l be the line through the endpoints of these radii on their respective circles.
If l and m are parallel, show that l is a common line of tangency for both circles.
If l and m intersect at P, let n be a tangent from P to one of the circles. Show n
is tangent to the other circle.]
2.7 Project 4 - Circle Inversion and Orthogonality
In this project we will explore the idea of inversion through circles. Circle
inversion will be a critical component of our construction of non-Euclidean
geometry in Chapter 7.
We start out with the notion of the power of a point with respect to a
given circle.
Start the Geometry Explorer pro-
gram and create a circle c with cen-
ter O and radius point A, and create
a point P not on c.
O
A
c
P
2.7. PROJECT 4 - CIRCLE INVERSION 99
Now create two lines originating
at P that pass through the circle.
Find the two intersection points of
the rst line with the circle (call
them P
1
and P
2
) and the two in-
tersection points of the second line
with the circle (call them Q
1
and
Q
2
). Measure the four distances
PP
1
, PP
2
, PQ
1
, and PQ
2
. (To
measure distance, multi-select two
points and choose Distance (Mea-
sure menu).)
O
A
c
P
P
2
P
1
Q
2
Q
1
Dist(P,P1) = 1.83
Dist(P,P2) = 6.00
Dist(P,Q1) = 1.82
Dist(P,Q2) = 6.01
Now we will compare the prod-
uct of PP
1
and PP
2
to the product
of PQ
1
and PQ
2
. To do this we
will use the Calculator in Geometry
Explorer. Go to the Help Web page
(click on Help in the menu bar) and
then go to the View Menu link
and from there to the Calculator
link. Read through this section to
become familiarized with how to use
the Calculator. Now, choose Cal-
culator (View menu).
Notice that the four distance measurements are listed in the right half of
the Calculator window. Double-click the rst distance measure, then click
on the Multiplication button (labeled *), and then double-click the second
distance measurement. We have just created an expression for the product
of PP
1
and PP
2
.
100 CHAPTER 2. EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY
To use this measurement back in
the Geometry Explorer main win-
dow, we click the Evaluate button
and then the Add to Canvas but-
ton. The new product measure will
now be on the screen. Do the same
for the product of PQ
1
and PQ
2
.
[Be sure to Clear the Calculator
rst.]
O
A
c
P
P
2
P
1
Q
2
Q
1
Dist(P,P1) = 1.83
Dist(P,P2) = 6.00
Dist(P,Q1) = 1.82
Dist(P,Q2) = 6.01
Dist(P,P1) *Dist(P,P2) = 10.95
Dist(P,Q1) *Dist(P,Q2) = 10.95
Interesting! It appears that these two products are the same. Drag point
P around and see if this conjecture is supported.
Exercise 2.7.1. Our rst task in this project is to prove that these two products
are always the same. [Hint: Consider some of the inscribed angles formed by
P
1
, P
2
, Q
1
, Q
2
. Use Corollary 2.32 to show that PP
1
Q
2
is similar to PQ
1
P
2
and thus show the result.]
Exercise 2.7.2. Show that the product of PP
1
and PP
2
(or PQ
1
and PQ
2
) can
be expressed as PO
2
r
2
, where r is the radius of the circle.
Denition 2.34. Given a circle c with center O and radius r and given a
point P, we dene the Power of P with respect to c as:
Power of P = PO
2
r
2
.
Note that by Exercise 2.7.2 the Power of P is also equal to the product
of PP
1
and PP
2
for any line l from P, with P
1
and P
2
the intersections of l
with the circle c.
Also note that the Power of P can be used to classify whether P is inside
(Power < 0), on (Power = 0), or outside (Power > 0) the circle.
Now we are ready to dene circle inversion.
Denition 2.35. The inverse of P with respect to c is the unique point P

on ray

OP such that OP

=
r
2
OP
(or (OP

)(OP) = r
2
).
Note that if the circle had unit radius (r = 1), and if we considered O
as the origin in Cartesian coordinates with OP = x, then the inverse P

of
P can be interpreted as the usual multiplicative inverse; that is, we would
have OP

=
1
x
.
How do we construct the inverse point?
2.7. PROJECT 4 - CIRCLE INVERSION 101
Clear the screen and create a circle
c with center O and radius point A
and then create a point P inside c.
Create the ray

OP. At P construct
the perpendicular to

OP and nd
the intersection points (T and U)
of this perpendicular with the cir-
cle. Create segment OT and nd
the perpendicular to OT at T. Let
P

be the point where this second


perpendicular intersects

OP.
O
A
c
P
T
U
P
Measure the distances for seg-
ments OP and OP

and measure
the radius of the circle. Use the Cal-
culator to compute the product of
OP and OP

and the square of the


radius as shown in the gure.
O
A
c
P
T
U
P
Dist(O,P) = 1.24
Dist(O,P) = 5.10
Radius(c) = 2.52
Dist(O,P) *Dist(O,P) = 6.33
Radius(c) ^2 = 6.33
It appears that we have constructed the inverse!
Exercise 2.7.3. Prove that this construction actually gives the inverse of P.
That is, show that (OP)(OP

) = r
2
.
In the last part of this lab, we will use the notion of circle inversion to
construct a circle that meets a given circle at right angles.
Denition 2.36. Two circles c and c

that intersect at distinct points A


and B are called orthogonal if the tangents to the circles at each of these
points are perpendicular.
Suppose we have a circle c and two points P and Q inside c, with P not
equal to Q and neither point equal to the center O of the circle. The goal
is to construct a circle through P and Q that meets c at right angles.
102 CHAPTER 2. EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY
Using the ideas covered earlier in this project, construct the inverse P

of P with respect to c. Then, select P, P

, and Q and click on the Circle


tool in the Construct panel to construct the unique circle c

through these
three points. The claim is that c

is orthogonal to c.
To see if this is the case, lets rst nd the center of c

. Let R be the
intersection of

TP with circle c

(Fig 2.32).
O
c
P
T
P
Q
c
S
1
S
2
R
O
Angle(O,S1,O) = 90.00 degrees
Angle(O,S2,O) = 90.00 degrees
Fig. 2.32
Then RPP

is a right angle in circle c

as OPT is a right angle.


Thus, by Theorem 2.33 RP

is a diameter of c

. The midpoint O

of RP

will be the center of c

. Let S
1
and S
2
be the intersection points of c with
c

. Measure O

S
1
O and OS
2
O

and check that they are right angles.


Since the tangents to c and c

are orthogonal to OS
1
, OS
2
, O

S
1
, and O

S
2
,
then the tangents to the circles at S
1
and S
2
must also be orthogonal and
the circles are orthogonal. Note that this evidence of the orthogonality of
c and c

is not a rigorous proof. The proof will be covered when we get to


Theorem 2.38.
Exercise 2.7.4. What do you think will happen to circle c

as one of the points


P or Q approaches the center O of circle c? Try this out and then explain why this
happens.
2.7. PROJECT 4 - CIRCLE INVERSION 103
Project Report
The ability to construct orthogonal pairs of circles is crucial to developing a
model of hyperbolic geometry, where parallels to a line through a point are
abundant. We will look at this model in detail in Chapter 7.
For the project report, provide detailed analysis of the constructions
used in this project and complete answers to the exercises.
2.7.1 Orthogonal Circles Redux
Here is a proof of orthogonality of the circles constructed in the text pre-
ceding Exercise 2.7.4.
Theorem 2.38. Given a circle c with center O and radius OA and given
two points P and Q inside c, with P not equal to Q and neither point equal
to O, there exists a unique circle c

(or line) that passes through P and Q


that is orthogonal to the given circle (Fig. 2.33).
O
A
c
P
P
Q
c
T
l
Fig. 2.33
Proof: It is clear that if P and Q lie on a diameter of c, then there is
a unique line (coincident with the diameter) that is orthogonal to c. So, in
the rest of this proof we assume that P and Q are not on a diameter of c.
Suppose that one or the other of P or Q, say P, is strictly inside c. As
above construct the inverse P

to P and let c

be the unique circle passing


104 CHAPTER 2. EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY
through Q, P, P

. Construct a tangent l to circle c

that passes through O.


Let l be tangent to c

at T. (To construct l, use the construction discussed


in Theorem 2.37.) We claim that T is also on circle c. To see this, consider
the power of O with respect to circle c

:
Power of O = (OP)(OP

) = (OT)
2
But, (OP)(OP

) = r
2
(r being the radius of c) since P

is the inverse
point to P with respect to c. Thus, (OT)
2
= r
2
and T is on circle c, and
the circles are orthogonal at T.
To see that this circle is unique, suppose there was another circle c

through P and Q that was orthogonal to c. Let P

be the intersection of

OP with c

. Let T

be a point where c and c

intersect. Then (OP)(OP

) =
(OT

)
2
. But, (OT

)
2
= r
2
and thus, P

must be the inverse P

to P, and
c

must then pass through Q, P, P

and must be the circle c.


The nal case to consider is when both P and Q are on the boundary of
c (Fig. 2.34). Then, any circle through P and Q that is orthogonal to c must
have its tangents at P and Q lying along OP and OQ. Thus, the diameters
of this circle must lie along tangent lines to c at P and Q. Thus, the center
of the orthogonal circle must lie at the intersection of these tangents, which
is a unique point.
O
c
P
Q
O
c
Fig. 2.34

We conclude this section on orthogonal circles with two results that will
prove useful when we study non-Euclidean geometry in Chapter 7.
2.7. PROJECT 4 - CIRCLE INVERSION 105
Theorem 2.39. Let c and c

be two circles and let P be a point that is not


on c and is not the center O of c. Suppose that c

passes through P. Then,


the two circles are orthogonal if and only if c

passes through the inverse


point P

to P with respect to c.
Proof: First, suppose that c

passes through the inverse point P

(refer
to Fig. 2.35). We know from the proof of Theorem 2.30 that the center O

of c

lies on the perpendicular bisector of PP

. Since P and P

are inverses
with respect to c, then they both lie on the same side of ray

OP. Thus, O
is not between P and P

and we have that O

O > O

P. Thus, O is outside
of c

. We then can construct two tangents from O to c

at points T
1
and
T
2
on c

. Using the idea of the power of points with respect to c

, we have
(OT
1
)
2
= (OP)(OP

). But, (OP)(OP

) = r
2
by assumption, where r is the
radius of c. Therefore, (OT
1
)
2
= r
2
, and T
1
is on c. A similar argument
shows that T
2
is also on c. This implies that the two circles are orthogonal.
O
c
T
1
T
2
O
c
P
P
Fig. 2.35
Conversely, suppose that c and c

are orthogonal at points T


1
and T
2
.
The tangent lines to c

at these points then pass through O, which implies


that O is outside c

. Thus,

OP must intersect c

at another point P

. Using
the power of points, we have r
2
= (OT
1
)
2
= (OP)(OP

), and thus P

is the
inverse point to P with respect to circle c.
Corollary 2.40. Suppose circles c and c

intersect. Then c

is orthogonal
to c if and only if the circle c

is mapped to itself by inversion in the circle c.


Proof: Suppose the circles are orthogonal, and let P be a point on c

. If
P is also on c, then it is xed by inversion through c. If P is not on c, then
106 CHAPTER 2. EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY
by the proof of Theorem 2.39, we know that P is also not the center O of c.
Thus, Theorem 2.39 implies that the inverse P

of P with respect to c is on
c

. Thus, for all points P on c

, we have that the inverse point to P is again


on c

.
Conversely, suppose c

is mapped to itself by inversion in the circle c. Let


P be a point on c

that is not on c and which is not the center O of c. Then,


the inverse point P

with respect to c is again on c

. By Theorem 2.39, the


circles are orthogonal.