2019 USAJMO Problems/Problem 4
Let be a triangle with obtuse. The -excircle is a circle in the exterior of that is tangent to side of the triangle and tangent to the extensions of the other two sides. Let , be the feet of the altitudes from and to lines and , respectively. Can line be tangent to the -excircle?
Instead of trying to find a synthetic way to describe being tangent to the -excircle (very hard), we instead consider the foot of the perpendicular from the -excircle to , hoping to force something via the length of the perpendicular. It would be nice if there were an easier way to describe , something more closely related to the -excircle; as we are considering perpendicularity, if we could generate a line parallel to , that would be good.
So we recall that it is well known that triangle is similar to . This motivates reflecting over the angle bisector at to obtain , which is parallel to for obvious reasons.
Furthermore, as reflection preserves intersection, is tangent to the reflection of the -excircle over the -angle bisector. But it is well-known that the -excenter lies on the -angle bisector, so the -excircle must be preserved under reflection over the -excircle. Thus is tangent to the -excircle.Yet for all lines parallel to , there are only two lines tangent to the -excircle, and only one possibility for , so .
Thus as is isoceles, contradiction. -alifenix-
The answer is no.
Suppose otherwise. Consider the reflection over the bisector of . This swaps rays and ; suppose and are sent to and . Note that the -excircle is fixed, so line must also be tangent to the -excircle.
Since is cyclic, we obtain , so . However, as is a chord in the circle with diameter , .
If then too, so then lies inside and cannot be tangent to the excircle.
The remaining case is when . In this case, is also a diameter, so is a rectangle. In particular . However, by the existence of the orthocenter, the lines and must intersect, contradiction.
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