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Coordinate rotations and reections

Main article: Orthogonal group

The set of all reections in lines through the origin and

rotations about the origin, together with the operation of
composition of reections and rotations, forms a group.
In geometry, two-dimensional coordinate rotations and
reections are two kinds of Euclidean plane isometries The group has an identity: Rot(0). Every rotation Rot()
has an inverse Rot(). Every reection Ref() is its own
which are related to one another.
inverse. Composition has closure and is associative, since
A rotation in the plane can be formed by composing a matrix multiplication is associative.
pair of reections. First reect a point P to its image P
on the other side of line L1 . Then reect P to its image Notice that both Ref() and Rot() have been repreP on the other side of line L2 . If lines L1 and L2 make sented with orthogonal matrices. These matrices all have
an angle with one another, then points P and P will a determinant whose absolute value is unity. Rotation
make an angle 2 around point O, the intersection of L1 matrices have a determinant of +1, and reection matrices have a determinant of 1.
and L2 . I.e. angle POP will measure 2.
A pair of rotations about the same point O will be equiva- The set of all orthogonal two-dimensional matrices together with matrix multiplication form the orthogonal
lent to another rotation about point O. On the other hand,
the composition of a reection and a rotation, or of a ro- group: O(2).
tation and a reection (composition is not commutative),
will be equivalent to a reection.

1 See also

The statements above can be expressed more mathematically. Let a rotation about the origin O by an angle be
denoted as Rot(). Let a reection about a line L through
the origin which makes an angle with the x-axis be denoted as Ref(). Let these rotations and reections operate on all points on the plane, and let these points be
represented by position vectors. Then a rotation can be
represented as a matrix,
Rot() =


Euclidean plane isometry

dihedral group
CartanDieudonn theorem
Rotation group SO(3) 3 dimensions


and likewise for a reection,

Ref() =

cos 2
sin 2

sin 2
cos 2

With these denitions of coordinate rotation and reection, the following four equations are true:

Ref() Ref() = Rot(2( )),

Rot() Rot() = Rot( + ),
Rot() Ref() = Ref( + /2),
Ref() Rot() = Ref( /2).
These equations can be proved through straightforward
matrix multiplication and application of trigonometric


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