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8ecenLly, as l was explorlng some maLhemaLlcal concepL l came across some Lerms LhaL were
susplclously slmllar Lo some famlllar LrlgonomeLrlc funcLlons. WhaL ls an excosecanL? Pow abouL a
Pavercoslne? As lL Lurns ouL, Lhese belong Lo a famlly of LrlgonomeLrlc funcLlons LhaL once en[oyed
very sLandard usage, ln very noLable and pracLlcal flelds, buL ln recenL Llmes have become nearly
obsoleLe.
!"#$%&"
1he mosL baslc of Lhls famlly of funcLlons ls Lhe
verslne, or versed slne. 1he verslne, abbrevlaLed
versln of some angle x ls acLually calculaLed by
subLracLlng Lhe coslne of x from 1, LhaL ls versln(x) =
1 - cos (x). 1hrough some manlpulaLlons wlLh half-
angle ldenLlLles, we can see anoLher equlvalenL
expresslon:


noLlce, we do noL need Lhe ! as Lhe verslne wlll always represenL non-negaLlve value (slnce coslne
ranges from negaLlve one Lo poslLlve one, one mlnus Lhese values wlll range from zero Lo Lwo). 1hls
was especlally helpful as navlgaLors used logarlLhms ln Lhelr calculaLlons, so Lhey could always Lake
Lhe logarlLhm of Lhe verslne.
lL ls lnLeresLlng LhaL Lhe LaLln name for verslne ls elLher slnus
versus (fllpped slne, Lo dlsLlngulsh from slnus recLus, Lhe
verLlcal slne) or saglLLa, meanlng arrow. lL ls easy Lo see, when
looklng aL a drawlng of Lhe slne, coslne and verslne why Lhe
reference Lo arrow occurs. Lnvlslon a bow and arrow, on Lhe
skeLch, Lhe arc A8 ls Lhe bow, segmenL A8 ls Lhe bowsLrlng,
and segmenL Cu ls Lhe drawn arrow shafL, Lhus, Lhe reference
Lo an arrow. lnLeresLlngly, Lhough lL has fallen ouL of
conLemporary usage, Lhe word saglLLa ls a synonym for
absclssa, Lhe x-axls.


!"#$%&!!! ! ! ! !"# !
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! ! !
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! ! !"#
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!!
!"# ! ! ! ! !"#$%& ! ! ! ! ! !!"#$%&' !
()*"#$%&"
Whlle Lhls funcLlon ls obvlously relaLed Lo Lhe
verslne (llLerally, lL ls half Lhe verslne, Lhus
haverslne), lL has Lhe mosL pracLlcal usage
assoclaLed wlLh lL.
ln early Llmes, navlgaLors would calculaLe dlsLance
from Lhelr known laLlLudlnal and longlLudlnal
coordlnaLes Lo Lhose of Lhelr deslred desLlnaLlon by uslng whaL became known as Lhe Paverslne
formula. SLarLlng wlLh Lhe Spherlcal Law of Coslnes, and maklng approprlaLe subsLlLuLlons uslng Lhe
deflnlLlon of haverslne, and Lhe dlfference of coslnes ldenLlLy, we can derlve whaL ls known as Lhe Law
of Paverslnes. lrom Lhere, we can relaLe lL Lo Lhe speclflc case of Lhe earLh Lo arrlve aL Lhe Paverlne
formula, whlch Lhen can be applled Lo flnd a dlsLance beLween Lwo polnLs.






!"#$%$&' !"# !"# !" !"#$%&'($&!

!!! !"!!"#$%& !"# !" !"#$%&#!

!"# ! ! !"# ! !"# ! ! !"# ! !"# ! !"# !

Where a, b, c are spherlcal arcs,
and C ls Lhe spherlcal angle beLween a and b.

llrsL, subsLlLuLe for cos c and cos C ln Lerms of haverslne:

! ! ! !"# ! ! !"# ! !"# ! ! !"# ! !"# !!! ! ! !"# !!

1hen dlsLrlbuLlng on Lhe rlghL hand slde:

! ! ! !"# ! ! !!" ! !"# ! ! !"# ! !"# ! ! ! !"# ! !"# ! !!" !

8eplaclng Lhe dlfference of coslnes:

! ! ! !"# ! ! !"#!! ! !! ! ! !"# ! !"# ! !!" !

nexL, subsLlLuLe for cos (a-b) ln Lerms of haversln:

! ! ! !"# ! ! ! ! ! !"#!! ! !! ! ! !"# ! !"# ! !!" !

LasL, slmpllfy by subLracLlng one and dlvldlng by -2:

!"# ! ! !"#!! ! !! ! !"# ! !"# ! !!" !
So, now we are able Lo deLermlne Lhe dlsLance beLween Lwo polnLs. LeLLlng polnL 1 be ALlanLa, CA
(33
o
44'36"n, 84
o
23'17"W) and polnL 2 be Sao aulo, 8razll (23
o
32'0"S, 46
o
37'0"W), we should be able
Lo flnd Lhe dlsLance by maklng approprlaLe subsLlLuLlons and a reasonable approxlmaLlon for Lhe
radlus of Lhe earLh (whlch ls noL a perfecL sphere). We wlll use Lhe mean of Lhe shorLesL and longesL
radll: approxlmaLely 3939 mlles.
Check ouL Lhe llnk on my home page for an Lxcel WorksheeL LhaL wlll calculaLe Lhe dlsLance beLween
Lwo locaLlons uslng Lhe Paverslne lormula and Lhelr laLlLudes and longlLudes.
!"#$ !"# !"# !" !"#$%&'($& !" !"# !"#$%&'($ !"#$%&'!


!"# ! ! !"#!! ! !! ! !"# ! !"# ! !!" !
LeL d be Lhe spherlcal dlsLance beLween any Lwo polnLs on Lhe surface of Lhe earLh, r be Lhe radlus of Lhe
earLh, !
!
!"! !
!
be Lhe laLlLudes of polnL 1 and polnL 2, respecLlvely, and !
!
!"# !
!
be Lhelr
respecLlve longlLudes. 1he haverslne of Lhe cenLral angle beLween Lhe polnLs ls:
!"# !
!
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!!
!
! ! !"# !
!
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!!" !!
!
! !
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Slnce !!"#$%&' ! ! !"#
!
!
!
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!!, we have
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!!
! ! !"#!!
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And
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!
llnally, ! ! !! !"#$%&!!"#
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!!
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! ! !"# !
!
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!!
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!
!"#$% !"# !"#$%&'($ !"#$%&'!

! ! !!!"#"! !"#$%&
!
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!!"!!""# ! !!!!"#$
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! ! !"# !!!!"#$ !"#!!!"!!""#! !"#
!
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! ! !"#$ !"#$%&!!"#
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!!!"!!"#$! ! !"# !!!!"#$ !"#!!!"!!""#! !"#
!
!!!"!!!"!
! ! !"#$ !"#$%&!!!!!!"#$!
!
!!!!!"#$!!!!!"#$!!!!!!"!#!
!

! ! !"#$ !"#$%&!! !"#$
! ! !"#$ !"#$%& !!!!"#
! ! !"#$ !!!!!"!#! !
!
!"#
! ! !"#$ !"#$%
1here are many oLher classlcal" LrlgonomeLrlc funcLlons LhaL are noL as pracLlcal and have been
abandoned ln favor of manlpulaLlon of Lhe slx well-known (and loved) Lrlg raLlos. 1he Lable and
dlagram below lllusLraLe how Lhese funcLlons are deflned.








As we evolve Lechnologlcally, lL ls lmporLanL LhaL we remember and recall Lhe sLeps we have Laken Lo
achleve Lhe sLaLure we have reached Lhus far. lL ls valuable for us Lo remember Lhose glanLs" upon
whose shoulders we happen Lo currenLly sLand.
WelssLeln, Lrlc W. "verslne." lrom !"#$%&'()--A Wolfram Web 8esource.
hLLp://maLhworld.wolfram.com/verslne.hLml
hLLp://en.wlklpedla.org/wlkl/verslne
hLLp://en.wlklpedla.org/wlkl/Paverslne_formula
kells, kern & 8land. *("+, "+) ./$,'01"( 2'03&+&4,#'5. ?ork, A: Maple ress Company, 1933. rlnL.


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