### Extension of the Trigonometric Functions

The notion of the trigonometric functions can be extended beyond 90° by defining the functions with respect to Cartesian coordinates. Let r be a line of unit length from the origin to the point P (x,y), and let θ be the angle r makes with the positive x-axis. The six functions become sin θ =y/r=y, cos θ=x/r=x, tan θ=y/x, cot θ=x/y, sec θ=r/x=1/x, and csc θ=r/y=1/y. As θ increases beyond 90°, the point P crosses the y-axis and x becomes negative; in quadrant II the functions are negative except for sin θ and csc θ. Beyond θ=180°, P is in quadrant III, y is also negative, and only tan θ and cot θ are positive, while beyond θ=270° P moves into quadrant IV, x becomes positive again, and cos θ and sec θ are positive.CE5

The trigonometric functions of the angle formed by the x-axis and the line r terminating at point P may be expressed in terms of r and the x- and y-coordinates of P. For θ_{1} both x and y are positive; for θ_{2} x is negative.

Since the positions of

r for angles of 360° or more coincide with those already taken by

r as θ increased from 0°, the values of the functions repeat those taken between 0° and 360° for angles greater than 360°, repeating again after 720°, and so on.

CE5Graph of y = sin θ as a function of the angle θ. The values of sin θ repeat every 360°.

This repeating, or periodic, nature of the trigonometric functions leads to important applications in the study of such periodic phenomena as light and electricity.

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