Radial Coordinates
(KS2, Year 6)

The radial coordinate is the first number in the pair of numbers used to describe polar coordinates. For example, in the polar coordinates (5, 45°), the radial coordinate is 5 (the number on the left):radial_coordinateThe radial coordinate is sometimes called the radius.

What Does the Radial Coordinate Mean?

The radial coordinate tells you how far a point is from the pole. If a point has polar coordinates (5, 45°), the point would be 5 from the pole. The image below shows what we mean by a point being 5 units from the pole: radial_coordinate_on_graph

Using a Polar Grid to Find the Radial Coordinate

A polar grid can be used to find the radial coordinate. A polar grid is shown below:radial_coordinate_on_polar_gridA circle is shown in red. If we read along the horizontal axis (called the polar axis), we see that this circle is labelled 5. This circle has a radius of 5. All points on it have a radial coordinate of 5.

The Radial Coordinate Can Only Be Positive

The radial coordinate can only be a positive numbers (0, 1, 2, 3...). It does not matter which direction a point is from a point, the distance is positive.radial_coordinate_positive
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This page was written by Stephen Clarke.