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ELEMENTS OF SURVEYING.
LOGARITHMS AND TRIGONOMETRY.
1. THE LOGARITHM of a number is the exponent of the power to which it is necessary to raise a fixed number, to produce the given number.
The fixed number is called the base of the system. Any positive number, except 1, may be taken as the base of a system. In the common system, the base is 10.
2. If we denote any positive number by n, and the corresponding exponent of 10 by p, we shall have the exponential equation,
In this equation, p is, by definition, the logarithm of n, which may be expressed thus,
3. From the definition of a logarithm, it follows that, the logarithm of any power of 10 is equal to the exponent of that power: hence, the formula,
If a number is an exact power of 10, its logarithm is a whole number.
If a number is not an exact power of 10, its logarithm will not be a whole number, but will be made up of an entire part plus a fractional part, which is generally expressed decimally. The entire part of a logarithm is called the characteristic; the decimal part is called the mantissa.
4. If, in Equation (3), we make p successively equal to 0, 1, 2, 3, &c.; and then equal to 1, 2, 3, &c., we may
form the following
When a number lies between 1 and 10, its logarithm lies between 0 and 1; that is, it is equal to 0, plus a decimal; if a number lies between 10 and 100, its logarithm is equal to 1, plus a decimal; if between 100 and 1000, its logarithm is equal to 2, plus a decimal; and so on: hence, we have the following
RULE. The characteristic of the logarithm of any whole number is positive, and numerically 1 less than the number of places of figures in the given number.
When a decimal fraction lies between .1 and 1, its logarithm lies between 1 and 0, that is, it is equal to 1, plus a decimal; if a number lies between .01 and .1, its logarithm is equal to 2, plus a decimal; if between .001 and .01, its logarithm is equal to -3, plus a decimal; and so on: hence, the following