Euler line

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Euler's line (red) is a straight line through the centroid (orange), orthocenter (blue), circumcenter (green) and center of the nine-point circle (red).

In geometry, the Euler line, named after Leonhard Euler (/ˈɔɪlər/), is a line determined from any triangle that is not equilateral. It is a central line of the triangle, and it passes through several important points determined from the triangle, including the orthocenter, the circumcenter, the centroid, the Exeter point and the center of the nine-point circle of the triangle.[1]

The concept of a triangle's Euler line extends to the Euler line of other shapes, such as the quadrilateral and the tetrahedron.

Triangle centers on the Euler line[edit]

Individual centers[edit]

Euler showed in 1765 that in any triangle, the orthocenter, circumcenter and centroid are collinear.[2] This property is also true for another triangle center, the nine-point center, although it had not been defined in Euler's time. In equilateral triangles, these four points coincide, but in any other triangle they are all distinct from each other, and the Euler line is determined by any two of them.

Other notable points that lie on the Euler line include the de Longchamps point, the Schiffler point, the Exeter point, and the Gossard perspector.[1] However, the incenter generally does not lie on the Euler line;[3] it is on the Euler line only for isosceles triangles,[4] for which the Euler line coincides with the symmetry axis of the triangle and contains all triangle centers.

The tangential triangle of a reference triangle is tangent to the latter's circumcircle at the reference triangle's vertices. The circumcenter of the tangential triangle lies on the Euler line of the reference triangle.[5]:p. 447 [6]:p.104,#211;p.242,#346 The center of similitude of the orthic and tangential triangles is also on the Euler line.[5]:p. 447[6]:p. 102

Distances between centers[edit]

On the Euler line the centroid G is between the circumcenter O and the orthocenter H and is twice as far from the orthocenter as it is from the circumcenter:[6]:p.102


The segment GH is a diameter of the orthocentroidal circle.

The center N of the nine-point circle lies along the Euler line midway between the orthocenter and the circumcenter:[1]

ON = NH, \quad OG =2\cdot GN, \quad NH=3GN.

Thus the Euler line could be repositioned on a number line with the circumcenter O at the location 0, the centroid G at 2t, the nine-point center at 3t, and the orthocenter H at 6t for some scale factor t.

Furthermore, the squared distance between the centroid and the circumcenter along the Euler line is less than the squared circumradius R2 by an amount equal to one-ninth the sum of the squares of the side lengths a, b, and c:[6]:p.71


In addition,[6]:p.102




Let A, B, C denote the vertex angles of the reference triangle, and let x : y : z be a variable point in trilinear coordinates; then an equation for the Euler line is

\sin (2A) \sin(B - C)x + \sin (2B) \sin(C - A)y + \sin (2C) \sin(A - B)z = 0.\,

An equation for the Euler line in barycentric coordinates \alpha :\beta :\gamma is[7]

(\tan C -\tan B)\alpha +(\tan A -\tan C)\beta + (\tan B -\tan A)\gamma =0.

Parametric representation[edit]

Another way to represent the Euler line is in terms of a parameter t. Starting with the circumcenter (with trilinear coordinates \cos A : \cos B : \cos C) and the orthocenter (with trilinears \sec A : \sec B : \sec C = \cos B \cos C : \cos C \cos A : \cos A \cos B), every point on the Euler line, except the orthocenter, is given by the trilinear coordinates

\cos A + t \cos B \cos C : \cos B + t \cos C \cos A : \cos C + t \cos A \cos B\,

formed as a linear combination of the trilinears of these two points, for some t.

For example:

\cos A:\cos B:\cos C, corresponding to the parameter value t=0.


In a Cartesian coordinate system, denote the slopes of the sides of a triangle as m_1, m_2, and m_3, and denote the slope of its Euler line as m_E. Then these slopes are related according to[8]:Lemma 1

m_1m_2 + m_1m_3 + m_1m_E + m_2m_3 + m_2m_E + m_3m_E
 + 3m_1m_2m_3m_E + 3 = 0.

Thus the slope of the Euler line (if finite) is expressible in terms of the slopes of the sides as

m_E=-\frac{m_1m_2 + m_1m_3 + m_2m_3 + 3}{m_1 + m_2 + m_3 + 3m_1m_2m_3}.

Moreover, the Euler line is parallel to an acute triangle's side BC if and only if[8]:p.173 \tan B \tan C = 3.

In special triangles[edit]

Right triangle[edit]

In a right triangle, the Euler line contains the median on the hypotenuse—that is, it goes through both the right-angled vertex and the midpoint of the side opposite that vertex. This is because the right triangle's orthocenter, the intersection of its altitudes, falls on the right-angled vertex while its circumcenter, the intersection of its perpendicular bisectors of sides, falls on the midpoint of the hypotenuse.

Isosceles triangle[edit]

The Euler line of an isosceles triangle coincides with the axis of symmetry. In an isosceles triangle the incenter falls on the Euler line.

Systems of triangles with concurrent Euler lines[edit]

Consider a triangle ABC with Fermat–Torricelli points F1 and F2. The Euler lines of the 10 triangles with vertices chosen from A, B, C, F1 and F2 are concurrent at the centroid of triangle ABC.[9]

The Euler lines of the four triangles formed by an orthocentric system (a set of four points such that each is the orthocenter of the triangle with vertices at the other three points) are concurrent at the nine-point center common to all of the triangles.[6]:p.111



In a convex quadrilateral, the quasiorthocenter H, the "area centroid" G, and the quasicircumcenter O are collinear in this order on the Euler line, and HG = 2GO.[10]


A tetrahedron is a three-dimensional object bounded by four triangular faces. Seven lines associated with a tetrahedron are concurrent at its centroid; its six midplanes intersect at its Monge point; and there is a circumsphere passing through all of the vertices, whose center is the circumcenter. These points define the "Euler line" of a tetrahedron analogous to that of a triangle. The centroid is the midpoint between its Monge point and circumcenter along this line. The center of the twelve-point sphere also lies on the Euler line.

Simplicial polytope[edit]

A simplicial polytope is a polytope whose facets are all simplices. For example, every polygon is a simplicial polytope. The Euler line associated to such a polytope is the line determined by its centroid and circumcenter of mass. This definition of an Euler line generalizes the ones above.[11]

Suppose that P is a polygon. The Euler line E is sensitive to the symmetries of P in the following ways:

1. If P has a line of reflection symmetry L, then E is either L or a point on L.

2. If P has a center of rotational symmetry C, then E=C.

3. If all but one of the sides of P have equal length, then E is orthogonal to the last side.

Related constructions[edit]

A triangle's Kiepert parabola is the unique parabola that is tangent to the sides (two of them extended) of the triangle and has the Euler line as its directrix.[12]:p. 63


  1. ^ a b c Kimberling, Clark (1998). "Triangle centers and central triangles". Congressus Numerantium 129: i–xxv, 1–295. 
  2. ^ Euler, Leonhard (1767). "Solutio facilis problematum quorundam geometricorum difficillimorum" [Easy solution of some difficult geometric problems]. Novi Commentarii academiae scientarum imperialis Petropolitanae 11: 103–123. E325.  Reprinted in Opera Omnia, ser. I, vol. XXVI, pp. 139–157, Societas Scientiarum Naturalium Helveticae, Lausanne, 1953, MR 0061061. Summarized at: Dartmouth College.
  3. ^ Schattschneider, Doris; King, James (1997). Geometry Turned On: Dynamic Software in Learning, Teaching, and Research. The Mathematical Association of America. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-0883850992. 
  4. ^ Edmonds, Allan L.; Hajja, Mowaffaq; Martini, Horst (2008), "Orthocentric simplices and biregularity", Results in Mathematics 52 (1-2): 41–50, doi:10.1007/s00025-008-0294-4, MR 2430410, It is well known that the incenter of a Euclidean triangle lies on its Euler line connecting the centroid and the circumcenter if and only if the triangle is isosceles .
  5. ^ a b Leversha, Gerry; Smith, G. C. (November 2007), "Euler and triangle geometry", Mathematical Gazette 91 (522): 436–452, JSTOR 40378417 .
  6. ^ a b c d e f Altshiller-Court, Nathan, College Geometry, Dover Publications, 2007 (orig. Barnes & Noble 1952).
  7. ^ Scott, J.A., "Some examples of the use of areal coordinates in triangle geometry", Mathematical Gazette 83, November 1999, 472-477.
  8. ^ a b Wladimir G. Boskoff, Laurent¸iu Homentcovschi, and Bogdan D. Suceava, "Gossard’s Perspector and Projective Consequences", Forum Geometricorum, Volume 13 (2013), 169–184. [1]
  9. ^ Beluhov, Nikolai Ivanov. "Ten concurrent Euler lines", Forum Geometricorum 9, 2009, pp. 271–274.
  10. ^ Myakishev, Alexei (2006), "On Two Remarkable Lines Related to a Quadrilateral" (PDF), Forum Geometricorum 6: 289–295 .
  11. ^ Tabachnikov, Serge; Tsukerman, Emmanuel (May 2014), "Circumcenter of Mass and Generalized Euler Line", Discrete and Computational Geometry 51 (51): 815–836, doi:10.1007/s00454-014-9597-2 .
  12. ^ Scimemi, Benedetto, "Simple Relations Regarding the Steiner Inellipse of a Triangle", Forum Geometricorum 10, 2010: 55–77.

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