1996 AHSME Problems/Problem 30
A hexagon inscribed in a circle has three consecutive sides each of length 3 and three consecutive sides each of length 5. The chord of the circle that divides the hexagon into two trapezoids, one with three sides each of length 3 and the other with three sides each of length 5, has length equal to , where and are relatively prime positive integers. Find .
In hexagon , let and let . Since arc is one third of the circumference of the circle, it follows that . Similarly, . Let be the intersection of and , that of and , and that of and . Triangles and are equilateral, and by symmetry, triangle is isosceles and thus also equilateral.
Furthermore, and subtend the same arc, as do and . Hence triangles and are similar. Therefore, It follows that Solving the two equations simultaneously yields so
All angle measures are in degrees. Let the first trapezoid be , where . Then the second trapezoid is , where . We look for .
Since is an isosceles trapezoid, we know that and, since , if we drew , we would see . Anyway, ( means arc AB). Using similar reasoning, .
Let and . Since (add up the angles), and thus . Therefore, . as well.
Now I focus on triangle . By the Law of Cosines, , so . Seeing and , we can now use the Law of Sines to get:
Now I focus on triangle . and , and we are given that , so We know , but we need to find . Using various identities, we see Returning to finding , we remember Plugging in and solving, we see . Thus, the answer is , which is answer choice .
Let be the desired length. One can use Parameshvara's circumradius formula, which states that for a cyclic quadrilateral with sides the circumradius satisfies where is the semiperimeter. Applying this to the trapezoid with sides , we see that many terms cancel and we are left with Similar canceling occurs for the trapezoid with sides , and since the two quadrilaterals share the same circumradius, we can equate: Solving for gives , so the answer is .
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