ATAN2

The function atan2(y,x) is defined as:

atan2(y,x) = tan^-1 (y/x) with respect to the quadrant the point (x, y) is in. In case you didn't know, with respect to point (x, y):

(x, y) is in Quadrant I if x > 0 and y > 0

(x, y) is in Quadrant II if x < 0 and y > 0

(x, y) is in Quadrant III if x < 0 and y < 0

(x, y) is in Quadrant IV if x > 0 and y < 0

Visually:

This is different from the two common calculator functions used to find the arctangent: Arctangent and Argument.

The Arctangent Function

TI and Casio Calculators*: tan^-1(y/x)

Hewlett Packard Calculators*: atan (y/x)

* * The majority of them *

Range (Output): -90° to 90°, -π/2 to π/2 radians

How to use Arctangent to get atan(y,x)

If the point is in quadrant I:

Use atan(y/x)

If the point is in quadrant II or III:

Use atan(y/x) + 180° in degrees mode

Use atan(y/x) + π in radians mode

If the point is in quadrant IV:

Use atan(y/x) + 360° in degrees mode

Use atan(y/x) + 2*π in radians mode

Special cases have to be used x or y is equal to 0:

If x=0 and y<0, the angle is 270° (3*π/2 radians)

If x=0 and y>0, the angle is 90° (π/2 radians)

If y=0 and x<0, the angle is 180° (π radians)

If y=0 and x>0, the angle is 360° or 0° (2*π or 0 radians)

The Argument Function

The complex number x + yi is used.

TI Calculators: angle(x + y*i)

Casio and Hewlett Packard Calculators: ARG(x + y*i)

Range: -180° to 180°, -π to π radians

How to use the Argument function to get atan2(y,x)

This is a great way to get atan2, which cleverly makes the use of complex numbers. In addition, there are a lot fewer things to remember:

If y≥0 (Quadrants I and II):

Use ARG(x+yi)*

(*The angle function if you are using a TI calculator)

If y<0 (Quadrants III and IV):

Use ARG(x+yi) + 360° for degrees mode

Use ARG(x+yi) + 2*π for radians mode

I hope this tip is helpful. Happy Thanksgiving and I am very thankful for all who have read, followed, and supported my blog over the last two years.

Eddie

This blog is property of Edward Shore. 2013