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CHAPTER

III

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

Locus of a point satisfying a given condition. The curve* group of curves) passing through all points which satisfy a given condition, and through no other points, is called the locus
24.

(or

of the point satisfying that condition. For example, in Plane Geometry, the following results are

proved
is

two fixed points from these points equidistant points. The bisectors of the adjacent angles formed by two lines is the locus of all points equidistant from these lines. To solve any locus problem involves two things 1. To draw the locus by constructing a sufficient number of points satisfying the given condition and therefore lying on the
bisector of the line joining

The perpendicular
all

the locus of

locus.

discuss the nature of the locus, that properties of the curve, f

2.

To

is,

to determine

Analytic Geometry is peculiarly adapted to the solution of both parts of a locus problem.
25.

condition.
dinates.

Equation of the locus of a point satisfying a given Let us take up the locus problem, making use of coorIf any point P satisfying the given condition and thereon the locus be given the coordinates (x, y), then the

fore lying

x and

y.

illustrates this fact,

which

is

of fundamental importance.
*
t

The word " curve " will hereafter signify any continuous line, straight or curved. As the only loci considered in Elementary Geometry are straight lines and circles,

may be

constructed by ruler and compasses, and the second part

i3

relatively unimportant.

44

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

Ex.
,11

45
is

Find the equation in x and y if the point whose locus 1. be equidistant from 2, 0) and .B( 3, 8). (

required

Solution.

Let P (x,

y)

be any point on the locus. Then by the given condition

(1)

PA = PB.
But, by formula IV,
p. 24,
,

PJ.

(1),

Substituting in
(2)

V(x

2x

(y

8)2.

Squaring and reducing,

(3)

16 y

69

= 0.

x and y are variables representing the coordinates of is, of any point on the perpendicular bisector of the line AB. This equation has two important and characteristic properties 1. The coordinates of any point on the locus may be substituted for x and y in the equation (3), and the result will be true. For let PI (xi, 7/1) be any point on the locus. Then P\A = Pi-B, by definition. Hence, by formula IV, p. 24,
In the equation
(3),

locus, that

(4)

or,
(5)

V(zi + squaring and reducing,

2)2

+ yi a = V(zi +
0.

3)2

O/i

8)2,

2x 1 -16 2/ 1 + 69 =
Therefore Xi and yi satisfy
2. (3).

(3) will lie

upon the

locus.

For if PI(XI, 2/1) is a point whose coordinates and hence also (4) holds.

satisfy (3), then (5) is true,

Q.E.D.

In particular, the coordinates of the middle point C of and B, namely, z = -2i, y = 4 (Corollary, p. 32), satisfy (3), since 2 (-2) -16 x 4 + 69 = 0.

This example illustrates the following correspondence between Pure and Analytic Geometry as regards the locus problem
:

Locus problem

Pure Geometry
The geometrical condition (satisfied

Analytic Geometry

An

and y representing coordinates

(satisfied

locus).

by the coordinates

of every point on the locus).

46

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
:

This discussion leads to the fundamental definition The equation of the locus of a point satisfying a given condition

an equation in the variables x and y representing coordinates such that (1) the coordinates of every point on the locus will satisfy the equation; and (2) conversely, every point whose
is

coordinates satisfy the equation will lie upon the locus. This definition shows that the equation of the locus must be tested in two ways after derivation, as illustrated in the example
of this section

From

and

Corollary.

point

lies

its

coordinates satisfy the equation of the curve.

26. First

fundamental problem.
is

curve which
condition.

To find the equation of a locus as the defined of a point satisfying a given

rule will suffice for the solution of this problem

The following
in

many
Rule.

cases

First step. the given condition

Second

step.

Assume that P (x, y) is any point and is therefore on the curve. Write down the given condition.

satisfying

Third

step.

Express the given condition in coordinates and

simplify the result. The final equation, containing x, y, and the given constants of the problem, will be the required equation.
Ex.
1.

of
y)

line passing

through P! (4,

1)

Solution.

First step.

Assume P(z,

any point

NS

nation
(1)
a. is
i

The given

may be written

Slope of

PiP =

tan

a=

ll

Third

step.

From

(V), p. 28,
4- 1

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

from
(1),

47

0.

Ans.

To prove that (3) is the required equation The coordinates (x 1? ?/i) of any point on 1.
:

is

(3),

for

substituting

(xi, 2/1)

and

(4,

1),

and

its

slope

hence, by (V), p. 28,

(4,

1) for (x 2 , 2/2),

or

= 0,

Xi and 2/1 satisfy the equation (3). Conversely, any point whose coordinates satisfy (3) is a point on the For if (xi, 2/1) is any such point, that is, if Xi + 2/1 3 = 0, then straight line.

and therefore
2.

also

is

true,

and

(xi, 2/1) is

to
r- m

(4,

1)

and having an inclination equal

Q.E.D.

Ex. 2. Find the equation of a straight line parallel to the axis of y at a distance of 6 units to the right.
Solution.
tt

and

First step.
line,

Assume

that P(x, y)

is

written
(4)

and draw

NP perpendicular

The given condition may be

NP = 6.
Third
step.

Since

NP = OM = x,
x

(4)

becomes

(5)

G.

Ans.

48
Ex. 3.

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
Find the equation of the locus of a point whose distance from always equal to 4.

(1,
is

2) is

(

is

1,

2)

by C,
!/)

the given condition

(6)

PC = 4.
Third
step.

By formula
2

1.2)

(IV), p. 24,
(y

PC = V(x +
V(x

I)

2)2.

Substituting in (6),

I)

(y

- 2)2 = 4.
2,

Squaring and reducing,

(7)

2x

_4y- 11 = 0.

This
center

is is

(1,

the required equation, namely, the equation of the circle whose The method of proof is the same 2) and radius equals 4.

PROBLEMS
1.
(a)

Find the equation of a

line parallel to

OY and

at a distance of 4 units to the right. (b) at a distance of 7 units to the left. (c) at a distance of 2 units to the right of (3, 2). 2). (d) at a distance of 5 units to the left of (2,
2.

What

is

lie

OF and a
if

6 units

from

it ?

3.
(a)

relative

toOI r ifa>&>0?

>

>

line parallel to

OX and

(b) at
(c)

OX.

(d)
4.
5.

above at a distance of 5 units below

at a distance of 7 units

(2,
(4,

3).
2).

What
it.

is

the equation of

XX' ?

of

YY' ?
x

it.

=4
y

and 3 units

to the

right of
6.

below
7. 8.

=a

and 4 units

How

is

b lie if

a >'b

> 0?

if

>

> 0?

What

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

9:

49

What
of,

a distance

is the equation of the locus of a point which moves always at 2 units from the axis of x ? from the axis of y ? from the line

5?

from the
is

line

= 4?

the equation of the locus of a point which moves so as to 10. What be equidistant from the lines x = 5 and x = 9 ? equidistant from y = 3 and

y=-7?
11.

What

are

(5, 2), (5, 5),

(-

2, 2),

(-

2, 5) ?

In problems 12 and 13, PI is a given point on the required line, slope of the line, and a its inclination.
12.
(a)

is

the

What
PI PI P! P!
is (
is

is

3)
4,

if

is (0,

and
2)

m=
and

3?

(b)

m
Vs

\?

= 0. = 0.

(c)

(-

2, 3)

andm =

-?

Ans. V<ix Ans.

Ans. Ans. Ans.
if

-2y + 6 + 2\/2 = 0.
0.

(d)
(e)
(f )

is

(0, 5)

and

(g)

P! PI PI

is (0, 0) is (a, 6)
is ( is

a,

m= ? and m = - | ? and m = ? = oo ? 6) and m

V3x - 2y + 10 = 2x + 3y = 0. y = b. x = a.

13.
J( (a)

What
PI P! PI P! P! Pi PI P! PI PI
is

the equation of a line

is (2, 3)

(b)
(c)

is
is is is

(d)
(e)
(f)

(g)

is is
is is

(h)
(i)

(j)

and a = 45 ? (-1, 2) and a = 45? - a, - b) and a = 45 ? ( = 60? (5, 2) and a - 7) and a. = 60? (0, ? (- 4, 5) and a = - 3) and a = 90 ? (2, - 3 V) and or = 120? (3, = 150? (0, 3) and a (a, 6) and a = 135 ?
/

= 0.

Vx

.Ans.

y Ans. x
4ns. Ans.
4ns.

V\-

14.

Are the points

= 5. = 2. V3x + y = 0. V3x + 3y - 9 = 0. x + y = a 4- 6.
line

on the

3z + 2y = 25?

15.
(a)

center at
(3, 2)

(d)
(e)
(f)

center at center at center at

and radius = 4. - 5) and r = 13. (12, = r. (0, 0) and radius = 5. (0, 0) and r (3 a, 4 a) and r = 5 a.
(6

4ns. 4ns. Ans. 4ns. Ans.

c)x

x2

x2 x2 x2
x2

+ 2 -6z-4y-3 = 0. + y 2 24 x + 10 y = 0. + y2 = r2 + y2 = 25. + y 2 - 2 a (3 x + 4 y) = 0.
?/
.

c,

c)

and

4ns. x 2

y2

= c, -2 +
(fr

(6

c)y

+ 2 62 +

c2

= (X

50

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
is (5,

16. Find the equation of a circle whose- center circumference passes through the point (2, 3).
17.
(

4)

and whose

2, 2)

circle

(3,

5)

and

19.

circle

Find the equation of a

circle

line joining

(6,

8) to the origin

whose center is the middle point of the 'and whose circumference passes through

the point
20.

(2, 3).

A point moves so that its distances from the two fixed points (2,
4) are equal.

3)

and

(1,

Find the equation of the locus and plot. Ans. 3x-7y

0.

21.
(a)

(b)
(c)

Find the equation of the perpendicular bisector of the line joining - 3). Ans. 10 x + 8 y + 13 = 0. (2, 1), (- 3, Ans. a-3y + 6 = 0. (3, 1), (2, 4). Ana. x+2y-7 = 0. (- 1, - 1), (3, 7).
Ans. Qx
2/2).

(d) (0, 4), (3, 0).

(e)
(xi, 2/i),

- Sy +
?/ 2

= 0.
2

(x 2 ,

Ans. 2

(xi

z 2 )x

2 (y^

-y

)y

+ x 2 2 - Xi 2 +

j/i

= 0.

22. Show that in problem 21 the coordinates of the middle point of the line joining the given points satisfy the equation of the perpendicular
bisector.

23.

triangle

Find the equations of the perpendicular bisectors of the sides of the Show that they meet in the point (11, 7). (4, 8), (10, 0), (6, 2).

24. Express
(

1, 1)

(f, 0) is

by an equation that the point (ft, k) is equidistant from Then show that the point also from (1, 2) and (1, - 2). from equidistant (- 1, 1), (1, 2), (1, - 2).
and
(1, 2)
;

27.

:

circle.

The

methods
1.

straight line parallel to the axis of the form x constant.

A
A

y has an equation of
an equation of

2.

the form y

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

Theorem
point
(I)
I.
,

51

B (0,

b)

The equation of the straight line passing through a on the axis of y and having its slope equal to in is

\^jT
First step.
step.

= mv +
&.~^

Proof.

y)

is

line.

Second

Slope of

PB

m.

Third

step.

Slope of
[Substituting
(x,

PB = y^^,
x
and
(0, 6)

for (z 2 ,

2/2)]

then

y-l = m,
x
II.
ft)

or

= mx +

Q.E.D.

Theorem
point (a,
(II)

center is

a given

a?

7/

2 an

2 \$y

a2

+
?/)

- r = O.
z

Proof.
locus.

First step.

Assume

that P(x,

is

Second
condition

step.
is

ft)

PC = r.
By
(IV), p. 24,

Third

step.

PC = V(a? .'.

a)

+ (y 2

/?)

V(re

a)

+ (y
circle

/2)

= r.
Q.E.D.
is

Corollary.
(0, 0)

(II).

whose center

the origin

The following

Any straight line is defined in the variables x and y.

Any
consist
circle is defined
?/,

the variables x and

by an equation of the second degree in which the terms of the second degree of the sum of the squares of x and y.
in

52

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY

28. Locus of an equation. The preceding sections have illustrated the fact that a locus problem in Analytic Geometry leads

an equation in the variables x and y. This equation found or being given, the complete solution of the been having locus problem requires two things, as already noted in the first
at once to

number of points the whose coordinates satisfy given equation, and through which the locus therefore passes.
2.

section (p. 44) of this chapter, namely, 1. To draw the locus by plotting a sufficient

To

discuss the nature of the locus, that

is,

to determine

properties of the curve. These two problems are respectively called : 1. Plotting the locus of an equation (second

fundamental

problem).
2. Discussing an equation (third fundamental problem). For the present, then, we concentrate our attention upon some given equation in the variables x and y (one or both) and start out with the definition
:

locus of an equation in two variables representing coordinates the curve or group of curves passing through all points whose coordinates satisfy that equation,* and through such points only.
is

The

From

:

theorem

is

at

once apparent

III.

Theorem

be

etc.),

* that

An equation in the variables x and y is not necessarily satisfied by the coordinates of

it is

any points.

satisfied

For coordinates are real numbers, and the form of the equation may be such by no real values of x and y. For example, the equation
#2 + 7/2+1=0

is

of this sort, since,

(or zero),

when x and y are real numbers, a? 2 and y 2 are necessarily positive and consequently x* + y z + 1 is always a positive number greater than or equal

to

Such an equation therefore has no locus. The 1, and therefore not equal to zero. expression "the locus of the equation is imaginary" is also used. An equation may be satisfied by the coordinates of a finite number of points only. For example, a; 2 + ?/ 3 =0 is satisfied by x=0, y = 0, but by no other real values. In this case the group of points, one or more, whose coordinates satisfy the equation, is called^ the locus of the equation.

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

53

We now take up in order the solution of the second and third fundamental problems.
29.

Rule

Second fundamental problem. to plot the locus of a given equation.

First step. Solve the given equation for one of the variables in terms of the other.*

Second
able for

step. By this formula compute the values of the variwhich the equation has been solved by assuming real

values for the other variable. Third step. Plot the points corresponding

to

the values so

determined.^

If the points are numerous enough to suggest the general shape of the locus, draw a smooth curve through the points. Since there is no limit to the number of points which may be computed in this way, it is evident that the locus may be drawn
Fourth
step.

as accurately as may be desired large number of points. Several examples will now be

by simply plotting a

sufficiently

worked out and the arrangement

Draw
the locus of the equation
0.

of the

work should be

carefully noted.
Ex.
1.

2x-3y + 6 =
Solution.

First step.

Solving for y,

Second
30)

step.

:

arranging results in the form X

Thus,

if

x x

= =

1,

y y

2,

= =

+ 2 = 2f f-2 + 2 = 8*.
1
,

etc.

Third step. Plot the points found. Fourth step. Draw a smooth curve

through these points.

* The form of the given equation will often be such that solving for one variable simpler than solving for the other. Always choose the simpler solution. t Remember that real values only may be used as coordinates.
is

54
Ex. 2.

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
Plot the locus of the equation

y
Solution.

= z2 -2x-3.
table of

First step.

Second step. values below

:

The equation as given is solved for y. Computing y by assuming values of x, we find the

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

For example,
if

65

if

= x =
x
;

1,

y
y

3,

= =
y

lG

=
9

vl6 -

18

V- 11,
4.6,

an imaginary number
if

=-

1,

Vl6 +
etc.

-1=

Third step. Plot the corresponding points. Fourth step. Draw a smooth curve through these points.

PROBLEMS
1.

(a)

(b)

2y 2y

<c)
<

3x - y
2/

= 0. = 3. +5=
-

(p)
(q)
0.
(

d)

= 4 *2

r)

(s)

x2
x2
-2

77

S)
(h)
(i)

+1^"- 5 = 0. 2/-*2 + x + l. x = 2/2 + 2?y - 3.

x2

+ ^ - Qy ~ *y = *~8. 4x = ^ + 8 <w
< U)

"2

1G

v ( >

'

(3)4x^7/3.
(k)

4x =

3
2/

_^ X)?y==
l 1

1.

+ x2
'

(m) y
(n)
(o)

= x3 - x. = x3-x2-5. x 2 + y 2 = 4.
7y

+
2

,,

g=
1

2
2/

2.
(a)

Show

(f )

(b)
(c)

(d)
(e)

(x -H I)
2

x2

(g)

4x 2 +

(h)
(i) (j)

2,2

+ 4-0.

2/2

+
2

2/

?/

sum

of squares

and reason

as in the foot-

x note on
30.

p. 52.

we can determine the nature

tion,

Principle of comparison. In Ex. 1, p. 53, and Ex. 3, p. 54, of the locus, that is, discuss the equa-

by making use of the formulas (I) and (II), p. 51. The method is important, and is known as the principle of comparison.

56
The nature of

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY

the locus of a given equation may be determined a general known equation, if the latter becomes with comparison by identical with the given equation by assigning particular values to
its coefficients.

The method
following

of

making the comparison

is

explained in the

Rule. First step. Change the form* of the given equation (if necessary) so that one or more of its terms shall be identical with one or more terms of the general equation.

Second step. Equate coefficients of corresponding terms in the two equations, supplying any terms missing in the given equation with zero coefficients.

Third step. Solve the equations found in tfye second step for the values^ of the coefficients of the general equation.
Ex.
1.

Show

that

2x

3y+6=0

is

(Fig., p. 53).

Solution.
(1)

First step.

y = mx +
6.

(I), p.

61,

(2)

(1)
2.

by solving

for y,

y=fx +
Second
step.

The right-hand members

are

now

identical.

Equating

coefficients of x,
(3)

m=f
Equating constant terms,
6

(4)

= 2.

Third step. Equations (3) and (4) give the values of the coefficients m and 6, and these are possible values, since, p. 27, the slope of a line may have any real value whatever, and of course the ordinate b of the point There(0, 6) in which a line crosses the F-axis may also be any real number.
fore the equation
(0, 2)

2x-3y + 6 =

.

and having a slope equal

to f

Q.E.D.

" of the * This transformation is called " putting the given equation in the form general equation. tThe values thus found may be impossible (for example, imaginary) values. This may indicate one of two things, that the given equation has no locus, or that it cannot be put in the form required.

Ex. 2.
(5)
is

57

Show

x2
p. 54).

y2

+ 6x-16 =

a circle (Fig.,
Solution.

First steg.

Compare with the general equation

2/

(II), p. 51,

(6)

x2

2/

- 2 ax - 20y + a 2 + p of (5)

r2

= 0.
two terms,

X2

and

(6) agree,

and

also the first

y2 Second
.

step.

Equating

coefficients of x,

(7)

- 2 a = Q.
Equating
coefficients of y,

(8)

-2 = 0.
Equating constant terms,
2

(9)

- r2 = - 16.

Third

step.

From

(7)

and

(8),

r2
(9)

3,

/3

= =

0.

5.

r,

we

find

25, or r

Since a,
circle

/3,

may
is

be any real numbers whatever, the locus of

(5) is

whose center

(3,

0)

5.

PROBLEMS
1. Plot the locus of each of the following equations. Prove that the locus a straight line in each case, and find the slope m and the point of intersection with the axis of y, (0, 6).
(a)

is

(b)
(c)

(d)
(e)
(f)

6 = 0. + 8 = 0. x-f 2y = q 5x 6y 5 = 0. x - f y - I = 0. ? - y - - 1 = 0.
2x
-f

Ans.
Ans.
-4ns.

3y

Ans.
.Ana.

m = 2, 6 = 6. m = |, b = 2g. m = - i, 6 = 0. m = ', 6 = - \$. m = f, b =- ^. m=f

,

Ana.
Ans. Ans.

=-

6.

(g)

(h)

7 x - 8 y = 0. - f y - | = 0. fx

m = |, 6 = 0. m = f, 6 = - 1-&.

58
2.

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
Plot the locus of each of the equations following, and prove that the a circle, finding the center (a, /3) and the radius r in each case.
i6

locus
(a)

is

(b)
(c)

(d)
(e)
(f)

(g)

(h)
(i)

x2 + 2/2 _ x2 + 2/ 2 x2 + y 2 x2 + 2/ 2 + x2 + y 2 x2 + y 2 + x2 + y 2 x2 + y 2 -

= o. = 0. 25 = 0. 4x = 0. 8 y = 0. 4x - 8y = 0. 6x + 4y - 12 = 0. 4x + 9y - | = 0. 3x2 + 3?/ 2 - 6x - 8y = 0.
49
is

Ans. Ans.
.4ns.

(a, 0) (a,

(a,
(a,

.4ns.

/3)

4ns. (a, 4ns. (or, Ans. (a, Ans. (a, 4ns. (a,

= (0, 0); r = 4. = (0, 0); r = 7. ft = (0, 0) r = 5. = (- 2, 0); r = 2. 0) = (0, 4); r = 4. 0) = (- 2, 4); r = V20. - 2); r = 5. 0) = (3, = (2, - f); r = 5. = (1,|); r = f
)
;

/3)

/3)

The following problems

problem

illustrate cases in

which the locus

may
3.

completely solved by analytic methods, since the loci be easily drawn and their nature determined.

axes

Find the equation of the locus of a point whose distances from the are in a constant ratio equal to f Ans. The straight line 2 x 3 y = 0. 2t -v 'Su.

XX' and YY'

4. Find the equation of the locus of a point the sum of whose distances from the axes of coordinates is always equal to 10. -?vo Ans. The straight line x + y 10 = 0.
5.

A point
(3,

from
locus

0)

straight lines

8.

and plot. Ans. The parallel

6.

6x +

4j/

= 0, 6x + 4y-13=0.
from the axes of coor-

A point

dinates.

to be always equidistant the equation of the locus and plot.

lines

moves so as

+ y = 0, x

= 0.

7.

moves so as to be always equidistant from the straight lines and y + 5 = 0. Find the equation of the locus and plot. = 0, x + y + I = Q. Ans. The perpendicular straight lines

A point

x-y-9

Find the equation of the locus of a point the sum of the squares of whose distances from (3, 0) and (-3, 0) always equals 68. Plot the locus.
8.

Ans. The
9.

circle

x2

+ y 2 = 25.

tances from

Find the equation of the locus of a point which moves so that its disPlot to 2. (8, 0) and (2, 0) are always in a constant ratio equal the locus. Ans. The circle x2 + y2 = 16.
10.
is

A point moves so that the ratio of its distances from (2, 1) and
.

4, 2)

always equal to

Ans. The
circle

plot.

3x 2

32/

-24x-4z/ =

0.

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

59

I
is

In the proofs of the following theorems the choice of the axes coordinates is left to the student, since no mention is made

In such cases

always choose the axes in the most convenient manner possible..

11.

A point moves so
Show

that the

sum

of

its

distances from
line.

two perpendicular
lines,

lines is constant.
Hint.

is

a straight

Choosing the axes of coordinates to coincide with the given

the equation

x + y = constant.

12. A point moves so that the difference of the squares of its distances from two fixed points is constant. Show that the locus is a straight line. Hint. Draw XX' through the fixed points, and Y Y' through their middle point. Then the fixed points may he written (a, 0), (- a, 0), and if the "constant difference " be denoted by k, we find for the locus 4 ax = k or 4 ax = k.

13. A point moves so that the sum of the squares two fixed points is constant. Prove that the locus is a
Hint.

of its distances
circle.

from

Choose axes as in problem

12.

is

14. point moves so that the ratio of its distances constant. Determine the nature of the locus.

from two

fixed points

Ans.
line if it

A
is.

Theorem.

The following problems illustrate the If an equation can be put in

the

form of a product of

variable factors equal to zero, the locus is found by setting each factor equal to zero and plotting the locus of each equation separately*
15.

Draw

the locus of
Factoring,

4 x2

9 y*

= 0.

Solution.
(1)

(2x

Then, by the theorem, the locus consists of the straight

(2) (3)

lines

2x-3y = 0, 2x + 3y = 0.
Proof.
1.

(xi,

yi)

which satisfy

(1)

witt

For
(4)

if

(xi, yi) satisfies (1),

60

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
when one
of the factors
is

This product can vanish only

either

zero.

Hence

2xl
and therefore
or
(xi, ?/i) satisfies (2)

-8y1 = 0,
;

2 xi
(xi, y\) satisfies (3).
(xi, ?/i)
(I).

-f

3 yi

0,

and therefore
2.
lie

point

on either of the
line 2

lines defined

by

(2)

and

(3) will also

on the locus of

For

if (xi, ?/i) is

on the

3y

0,

then (Corollary,
(5)

p. 46)

2xi-32/i

0.

first

3 y{) (2 Xi -f 3 yi) also vanishes, Hence the product (2 Xi factor is zero, and therefore (xi, yi) satisfies (1).

since

by

(5)

the

(3),

Therefore every point on the locus of (1) is also on the locus of and conversely. This proves the theorem for this example.
16.

(2)

and

Q.E.D.

Show
x2

straight lines,
(a)

that the locus of each of the following equations and plot the lines.
(j)

is

a pair of

(b) 9 X*
(c)

(d)
(e)
(f)

(g)
(h)
(i)

2
.

(k)
(o) (p)
(q)
(r)

?/

3 x2
?/ ?/

17.

Show

is

-4.x2

single line, or that there zero, or negative.

no locus according

+ Bx + C = is a pair asA^-B2
-f

of parallel lines, a

AC

is positive,

18.

Show

lines, a single line, or a point according &s or negative.

Bxy + Cy 2 A=

is
2

a pair of intersecting

AC

is

positive, zero,

Discussion of an equation. 31. Third fundamental problem. The method explained of solving the second fundamental prob.

lem gives no knowledge of the required curve except that it passes through all the points whose coordinates are determined
as satisfying the given equation. Joining these points gives a Serious errors may be curve more or less like the exact locus.

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

Gl

in this way, however, since the nature of the curve between successive points plotted is not determined. This objection two any is somewhat obviated by determining before plotting certain prop-

the locus by a discussion of the given equation now to be explained. The nature and properties of a locus depend, upon the form of its equation, and hence the steps of any discussion must depend
erties of

upon the particular problem.

In every case, however, the folbe should answered. lowing questions 1. Is the curve a closed curve or does it extend out infinitely far?
2.

The method

of deciding these questions

is

illustrated in the

following examples.
Ex.
(1)
1.

x2

42/

= 16.

Discuss the equation.

Solution.
(2)

First step.

Solving for

x,

V4 -

2/2.

Second step. Assume values of y and compute x. This gives the Third step. Plot the points of the table. Fourth step. Draw a smooth curve through these points.
X

table.

62
2.

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
To determine
:

the

symmetry with respect

to the axes

we proceed
it

as

follows

The equation (1) contains no odd powers of x or y ten in any one of the forms
(3)
(4)
(5)

hence

may

be writ-

+ 4 - y) a = 16, (- x)2 + 4 (yy = 16, (- x)* + 4 (- 7/)2 = 16,

(x)*
(

replacing

(x, y}

by

(x,

x,

y)

replacing
replacing

(x, y)
(x, y)

by (by (-

x, y)

y).

The transformation of (1) into (3) corresponds in the figure to replacing each point P(x, y) on the curve by the point Q(x, But the points P y). and Q are symmetrical with respect to XX', and (1) and (3) have the same locus (Theorem III, p. 52). Hence the locus of (1) is unchanged if each point is changed to a second point symmetrical to the first with respect to XX'.
Therefore the locus
is

to the axis

of

x.

Similarly
(5),

from

and from

the locus is symmetrical with respect to the origin.

The
Ex.
(6)

locus
2.

is

called an ellipse.

Plot the locus of

y2_4 x +
Discuss the equation.
Solution.

i5

= o.

First step.
if

have to be extracted
(7)

we

Solve the equation for x, since a square root would solved for y. This gives

0/

15).

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

the

63

Iince example,
j?'or

same value
if

y* only appears in the equation, positive and negative values of y of x. The calculation gives the table on p. 62.

then

y x

= 3, = I (9 +

15)

6, etc.

Third step. Plot the points of the table. Fourth step. Draw a smooth curve through these points.
Discussion.
1.

From

(7)

it

is

Hence
2.

(6)

Since

contains no odd powers of y, the equation

may

be written in

the

form
(x, y)

<_,)- 4 <*) + 16 =
by
(x,

by replacing
to the

y).

Hence

the locus is symmetrical with respect

axis of x.
is

The curve
Ex.
(8)

called a parabola.

3.

xy
Solution.

-2y -4 =

0.

First step.

Solving for y,

Second

step.

Compute

y,

assuming values for

x.
2,

y = \$ = oo. In such cases we assume values differing slightly from 2, both less and greater, as in

When

the table.

Third step. Plot the points. Fourth step. Draw the curve as in the figure in this case, the curve having two
branches.
1.

From

(9) it

indefi-

nitely.

The curve

therefore extends indefi-

nitely far to the right and left, approaching constantly the axis of x. If we solve (8) for

x
it is

-,

y
indefinitely.

far,

approaching in each case the line x = 2.

64
2.

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
The equation cannot be transformed by any one of the three substitutions
(x, y) (x, y)

into
into

(x,

- y),
y),

(-x,

(x, y)

into

(-

x,

- y),

way that the new equation will not have the therefore not symmetrical with respect to either axis, nor with respect to the origin.
without altering
locus.
it

in such a
is

same

The

locus

This curve
Ex. 4.
(10)

is

called

an hyperbola.

Draw

4y = x 3
X

Solution.

First step.

Solving for y,

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

Ek

65

Third step. Plot the points thus found. Fourth step. The points determine the curve of the
figure.

Discussion. 1. From the given equation (10), a; and y increase simultaneously, and therefore the curve extends out indefinitely from both axes. 2. In (10) there are no even powers nor constant

may

be

replacing

(x,

Hence
origin.

The
32.

locus

is

Symmetry. In the above examples we have assumed the

:

definition

If the points of a curve can be arranged in pairs which are symmetrical with respect to an axis or a point, then the curve
itself is said to

for testing
if (x,

The method used locus was as follows

an equation for symmetry of the be replaced by (x, can y) y) throughout the equation without affecting the locus, then if (a, b) is on the locus, (a, b) is also on the locus, and the points of the latter
:

etc.

Hence

Theorem IV. If the locus of an equation

is

unaffected by replacing

y by

y throughout

its

respect to the axis

of

x.

x throughout its If the locus is unaffected by changing x to to axis of y. the locus is with the equation, respect symmetrical
If the locus
to

x and unaffected by changing both x and y to y throughout its equation, the locus is symmetrical with respect
is

the origin.

These theorems may be made to assume a somewhat different form if the equation is algebraic in x and y (p. 10). The locus of an algebraic equation in the variables x and y is called an Then from Theorem IV follows algebraic curve.

66
Theorem V.

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
Symmetry
of

an algebraic curve.

If no odd powers

of y occur in an equation, the locus is symmetrical with respect to XX'; if no odd powers of x occur, the locus is symmetrical with
respect to YY'.

If every term is of even* degree, or every term of odd degree, the locus is symmetrical with respect to the origin.
33.

Further discussion. In this section we treat of three uidre

questions which enter into the discussion of an equation. 3. Is the origin on the curve ?

This question

is

settled

by

Theorem VI.
the origin

The

when

an algebraic equation passes through there is no constant term in the equation.

locus of

is

Proof. The coordinates (0, 0) satisfy the equation when there no constant term. Hence the origin lies on the curve (CorolQ.E.D.

lary, p. 46).
4.

What
to

values of x and y are to be excluded ? we have the

Rule

First step.

determine all values of x and y which must be excluded. Solve the equation for x in terms of y, and from this

result determine all values of

will be imaginary.

Second

step.

y for which the computed value of x These values ofy must be excluded. Solve the equation for y in terms of x, and from
of x for which the computed value These values of x must be excluded.

this result determine all values

of y will be imaginary.

The

intercepts of a curve

on the axis of x are the abscissas of

the points of intersection of the curve and XX'. The intercepts of a curve on the axis of y are the ordinates of

Rule

to

Substitute

y
x

=
=

and

solve for real values of x.

solve for real values of y.

This gives the

Substitute

and

intercepts on the axis

*

of y.
as of even (zero) degree.

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

The proof of the rule follows at once from the definitions. The rule just given explains how to answer the question:
5.

67

What

are the intercepts of the locus ?

;he

an equation. Given an equation, should answered in order before plotbe following questions locus. the ing
34. Directions for discussing
1. 2.

Is the origin Is

the locus

symmetrical -with respect

to the

axes or the

ifjin?
3. 4.
5.
>.

V). are the intercepts? (Rule, p. 66). values of x and y must be excluded? (Rule, p. 66). Is the curve closed or does it pass off indefinitely far? ( 31,

(Theorems

IV and

What What

61).

Iscussion of the
Ex.
(1)
1.

is

called a general

given equation.

Give a general discussion of the equation

x2

Draw

the locus.

(04)

1.

2.

Since the equation contains no constant term, the origin is on the curve. The equation contains no odd powers of x; hence the locus is symmet-

rical
3.

Putting y

0,

we
and

find
4,

= 0, we
"

x = 0, the intercept on the axis of the intercepts on the axis of y.

x.

Putting

(2)

68
Hence
value y 2
all

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
values of y between
is

and 4 must be excluded, since

for such a

4y

negative.

Solving for y,
(3)

=2
x

Vx 2 +
2

16.
is

Hence no value
6.

of x

is

excluded, since x

+ 16

always

positive.

From

(3),

indefinitely far

(2),

increases as

increases,

and the curve extends out

found to be as in the
figure.

the curve

is

The curve

is

an hyperbola.

PROBLEMS
1.

the locus.
(a)
<

(b)
(c)

(d)
(e)
(f)

(g)

(h)
-4(i)
x

(j)

(k)

_ 4 y = o. - 4x + 3 = 0. x2 + 4 2 _ 16 = 0. 9x2 + y2 _ 18 = 0. x2 - 4 ?/2 _ 16 = 0. x2 -4y 2 + 16 = 0. x 2 - 2/2 + 4 = o. x 2 - y + x = 0. xy - 4 = 0. 9y + x3 = 0. 4x - y s = 0.

x2
2/

(n)
(o)

Qy 2 _ x s =
92/2

o.

1/

(p)
(q)
(r)
(s)
(t)

(u)
(v)

(w)
J

(x) (y)
(z)

(l)6x-y* = 0. - + 3 = 0. (m) 5x
?/ 2/

+ x8 = 0. 2xy + 3x - 4 = 0. x2 - xy + 8 = 0. & + xy - 4 = 0. x2 + 2xy -3y = 0. 2xy - y* + 4x = 0. 3x 2 - y + x = 0. 4y 2 - 2x - y = 0. x 2 - ?/2 + Q X = o. x2 + 4y -f 8 y = 0. 9x2 + 2 + 18x- 6y = 0. 9x 2 - 2 + 18x + 6y = 0.

2

?/

2/

2. Determine the general nature of the locus in each of the following equations by assuming particular values for the arbitrary constants, but not special values, that is, values which give the equation an added peculiarity.* (a) j/2

(b)

W
(d)
(e)

= 2 mx. - 2 my = m2 y2 _ ^+52-2xy = a2
x2 x2
.

(f )
.

(g)

(h)
(i)

(j)

X2

y2

(k)
(1)

&-&m=

- y* = a2 + y2 = r2 + y2 = 2rx. x2 + 2 = 2r2/. & -f y 2 = 2ox + 2 a2/ - a* a^ = ^ 3

x2 x2 x2
.

2/

26y.

zero

* For example, in (a) and (b) is a special value. ia a special value for any constant.

In

examples

3.

69

Draw

the locus of the equation

= (x-a)(*-6)(x-c),
(c)

(a)

(b)

(d)

6,

= c.
c.

class

The loci of the equations (a) to (f ) known as conies, or conic sections

and
circles in the section is the locus of

in

problem 2 are

all of

the

lines

A conic
4.

fixed point

and a fixed

is

Show

y.

represented by an equation of the second

degree in x and

Hint. Take Y Y' to coincide with the fixed line, and draw XX' through the fixed point. Denote the fixed point by (p, 0) and the constant ratio by e.

Ans.
5. (a)

(1

e2 )x2

y2

- 2px + p* = 0.
4,

(b)
(c)

when when when

= 1. The conic is now called a parabola (see p. 63). The conic is now called an ellipse (see p. 62). e < 1. e > 1. The conic is now called an hyperbola (see p. 64).
0.

6.

a** -6 =
(b)

=
A
rf'i

x*y-y + 2x =

0. .

(f)

(c) xz/2

- 4x +

= 0.

(g)

= ^f?. x + 1

(k)

4x =
y2

35.

Points of

intersection.

If

two curves whose equations

are given intersect, the coordinates of each point of intersection must satisfy both equations when substituted in them for the

variables (Corollary, p. 46). In Algebra it is shown that all values satisfying two equations in two unknowns may be found

by regarding these equations as simultaneous in the unknowns and solving. Hence the
Rule
to

tions are given.

70
First step.
nates,

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
Consider the equations as simultaneous in the coordi-

and

solve as in Algebra.

Second

step.

all the points

These will be the coordinates of

of intersection.

Notice that only real solutions correspond to common points of the two curves, since coordinates are always real numbers.
Ex.
(1)
(2)
1.

Find the points

of intersection of

Solution.
First step.

Solving

(1)
(3)
.

for x,

= 1y-

25.

Substituting in
(7

(2),
?/2

y- 25)2 +
/.

2 Eeducing, y

= 25. + 12 = 0.
4.

=3

and

4 and

3.

(3, 4).

(1) is

3)

and

In the figure the straight line

circle the locus of (2).

of the loci of

(1),

and the

Ex. 2.
(4) (5)

Find the points of intersection

2 x2 3 x2

32/2

4y

= =

35,
0.

Solution.
(6)

First step.

Solving

(5)

for x2 ,

x2
Substituting in (4)

= = =
i

f2A

and reducing,
105
.-.

9 2/2

-f

8y

0.

and

3 -

/.

Substituting in

(6)

and

solving,

=
(-

and

V-210.

Second
are

step.
3),

(+2,

2, 3).

(4) is

locus of
(5).

the locus of

(4),

(5)

the

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

PROBLEMS
Find the points of intersection of the following
loci.

71

2.

Ans. (6,1).

'

<0.

).(-* -I)-

8-

xyt: 20

^ nS<

5'

4) '

'

5)

10.

oX

T-

ir

= ^*
=
4 ay

j
^1

G9\
Ans.

/i

9\

x2
13.

y=

8a3

L.

(2 a, a),

(-2a,

a).

14.

"

9x,

^Irw.

(8, 6), (8,

6).

(a,

CM- 0,0,

72

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
The two
X2
loci

17.

2 V --

=I

and

X2

--

V2
1-

=4

intersect in four points.

Find the lengths of the sides and of the diagonals of the quadrilateral formed by these points. Ans. Points, ( VlO, f Ve). Sides, 2 VlO, 3 Ve. Diagonals, V94. Find the area of the triangles and polygons whose sides are the
following equations.
18.
19.
loci of the

3x + y +
x x
x

4
5,

0,

3x-5y + 34 = 0, 3x-2y + 1 = 0.
7,

Ans.

36.

+ 2y =
+y=

2x + y =

=x+

1.

4ns.

f.

20.
21.

0,

a, x-2y = 4a, y-x + 7a = 0. y = 0, x = 4, y =-6.

6.

Ans. 12 a 2
4ns. 4ns.
14.

24.

22.
23.

x-y = 0, x + y = 0, x-y = a, x + y =
y

= 3x-9,

= 3x +

6,

2y = x -

6,

2y = x +

4ns.

56.

24.

3x-2y + 6 = 0,
25.

Find the distance between the points of intersection of the curves x2 + y 2 = 9. 4ns.
of y2

= 4x

2x + 3y +

= 0?

4ns. Yes.
26
.

2x
27.

For what value of a will the three meet in a point ? 3 =

lines

3x + y
y2

= 0,

ax + 2y-3 = 0, 4ns. a = 5.

Find the length of the common chord of x 2

-f

= 13

and y 2

3x
6.

3.

4ns.
28.
If the

3x + y

= 0,

equations of the sides of a triangle are x + 7y-fll = x 3y-fl = 0, find the length of each of the medians.

0,

4ns. 2 V5,

V2,

VnO.
is,

Show that the following loci intersect in two coincident points, that tangent to each other.
29.

are

yt-Wx- 6y-31 = 0, 2y-10x = 47.

9x2

30.

-4y 2 + 54x-16y + 29 = 0,

15 x

- 8y +

11

0.

36.

Transcendental curves.

far consid-

ered have been algebraic in x and

variables have appeared. so-called transcendental curves, in which the variables appealotherwise than in powers. The Eule, p. 53, will be followed.

We

y, since powers alone of the shall now see how to plot certain

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

Ex.
(1)
1.

73

Draw

the locus of

logio x.

Solution. Assuming values for x, y may be computed by a table of logarithms, or, remembering the definition of a logarithm, from (1) will follow
(2)

10".
(2).

X

also be

assumed for y, and x computed by is done in the table.

In plotting,
unit length on unit length on

This

XX' is 2
YY'
1.

divisions,

is

4 divisions.

General discussion.

(0, 0)

2.

does not

The curve

is

spect to either axis or the origin.

74
Ex. 2.
(3)
if

ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
Draw
the locus of

y
is

= sin x
I, p.

the abscissa x
Solution.

the circular measure of an angle (Chapter

12).

of degrees,

Assuming values for x and finding the corresponding number we may compute y by the table of Natural Sines, p. 14.
if

For example,

y
It will

= 1, since 1 radian = = sin 57. 29 = .843.

57. 29,
[by (3)]

be more convenient for plotting to choose for x such values that the corresponding number of degrees is a whole number. Hence x is expressed in terms of it in the table.

For example,
X

if

THE CURVE AND THE EQUATION

Also, the arc

75

OQB may

In this

way

it is

be displaced parallel' to XX' until O falls upon C. seen that the entire locus consists of an indefinite number

above and below XX'.

origin, since (0, 0)

General discussion.
satisfies the equation.
2.

1.

The curve passes through the

sin x,

Since sin

x)=

changing signs in

(3),

y
or
?/

= sin x, = sm(-x).
y) is replaced

curve
3.
is

is

unchanged

if (x,

symmetrical with respect

(3), if

to the origin

by ( (Theorem IV,

x,

y),

and the

p. 65).

In

x y

= 0, = sin

=
1

intercept

on the axis

of y.

Solving
(4)

(3) for x,

x
In
(4), if

= sin-

y.

y=0, x = sin-

nit,

n being any

integer.

Hence the curve cuts the axis of x an indefinite number of times both on the right and left of 0, these points being at a distance of it from one
another.
4. In (3), x may have any value, since any number is the circular measure an angle. In (4), y may have values from 1 to +1 inclusive, since the sine of an 1 to -f 1 inclusive. angle has values only from

of

5. The curve extends out indefinitely along XX' in both directions, but is contained entirely between the lines y = + 1, y = 1. The locus is called the wave curve, from its shape, or the sinusoid, from

its

equation

(3).

PROBLEMS
Plot the loci of the following equations.
1.

y y

cosx.

7.

y y

= 21ogiox.
i

2.
3.

4.
5.
6.

= tan x. = secx. y = sin- x.

1

8.

9.

y
y y
y

= (1 + x)* = sin2x.
=
tan--

10.

y y

= =

tan~ 1
x '2
.

x.
/

11.

12.

= 2cosx. = sinx +

cosx