Definitions and theorems related to inscribed and central angles in circles are discussed using examples. See also interactive tutorial on central and inscribed angles.
Definitions
1 - A central angle of a circle is an angle whose vertex is located at the center of the circle. Angle BOC in the figure below.
2 - An inscribed angle is an angle whose vertex is on a circle and whose sides each intersect the circle at another point. Angle CAB in the figure below.
Theorem
1 - An inscribed angle is half the measure of the central angle intercepting the same arc.
angle BAC = (1 / 2) angle BOC
angle BDC = (1 / 2) angle BOC
2 - Two or more inscribed angles intercepting the same arc are equal.
angle BAC = angle BDC
Problem 1: In the figure below chord CA has a length of 12 cm. The circle of center O has a radius of 14 cm. Find an approximate value (2 decimal places) to the size of the inscribed angle CBA.
Solution to Problem 1:
We first calculate the central angle COA. Triangle COA is an isosceles triangle since length of CO = length of AO = radius = 14 cm. We use the cosine law to find cos (angle COA).
CA^{ 2} = CO^{ 2} + AO^{ 2} - 2 CO AO cos (angle COA)
Substitute CA, CO and AO by their numerical values and express cos(angle COA) as follows