14
Chapter 1
•
Right Triangle Trigonometry
§1.3
1.3 Applications and Solving Right Triangles
Throughout its early development, trigonometry was often used as a means of indirect mea
surement, e.g. determining large distances or lengths by using measurements of angles and
small, known distances. Today, trigonometry is widely used in physics, astronomy, engineer
ing, navigation, surveying, and various Felds of mathematics and other disciplines. In this
section we will see some of the ways in which trigonometry can be applied. Your calculator
should be in degree mode for these examples.
Example 1.11
A person stands 150 ft away from a ±agpole and measures an
angle of elevation
of 32
◦
from his
horizontal line of sight to the top of the ±agpole. Assume that the person’s eyes are a vertical distance
of 6 ft from the ground. What is the height of the ±agpole?
150
32
◦
6
h
Solution:
The picture on the right describes the situation. We see that
the height of the ±agpole is
h
+
6 ft, where
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 Fall '11
 Dr.Cheun
 Calculus, Trigonometry, Angles, Tan, triangle

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