“trigonometry” comes from the Greek word “trigonometria.” It means tri (three), gonia (angle), and metro (measure). Trigonometry is used in many different ways and forms. There are many fields where trigonometry is very useful and important, and is used daily as a part of the person’s occupation. One example of a job that uses trigonometry is astronomy. Astronomy is a branch of science that deals with space, celestial objects, and the universe as a whole. Different from other sciences, astronomy is entirely observational. This is because you cannot run experiments on things as well as not being able to manipulate variables/other objects to see how they work. In order to compare objects that are visible from the Earth, you must first know how far away they are and their distance from this planet. The answers to questions such as how astronomers know what makes up the atmosphere of a distant planet as well as how astronomers know that a galaxy is moving toward us or away from us is all contained in mathematics. For astronomers, trigonometry plays an extremely critical role because they deal with mathematics every day of their lives.
Astronomers use trigonometry for things such as distance surveys. Because of the fact that we cannot simply stretch out a measuring tape between two objects and read off the distance in the middle of space, astronomers use a variety of techniques that have been created that allow us to measure distances to stars without having to actually leave the Solar System. Interesting, right? One of the astronomer’s favorite way to measure great distances from our planet to something in space is by using a technique that has been used for thousands of years. That technique is to look at something from two different vantage points and determine its distance using trigonometry.
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