World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000365349
Reproduction Date:

Title: Heptagon  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Jordanian dinar, Tetradecagon, Heptagram, Polygon, Tverberg's theorem
Collection: Elementary Shapes, Polygons
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Regular heptagon
A regular heptagon
Type Regular polygon
Edges and vertices 7
Schläfli symbol {7}
Coxeter diagram
Symmetry group Dihedral (D7), order 2×7
Internal angle (degrees) ≈128.571°
Dual polygon self
Properties convex, cyclic, equilateral, isogonal, isotoxal

In geometry, a heptagon is a 7-sided polygon or 7-gon.

The heptagon is also occasionally referred to as the septagon, using "sept-" (an elision of septua-, a Latin-derived numerical prefix, rather than hepta-, a Greek-derived numerical prefix) together with the Greek suffix "-agon" meaning angle).


  • Regular heptagon 1
    • Area 1.1
    • Construction 1.2
    • Approximation 1.3
    • A more accurate approximation 1.4
    • Symmetry 1.5
  • Star heptagons 2
  • Uses 3
  • Graphs 4
  • Heptagon in natural structures 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Regular heptagon

A regular heptagon, in which all sides and all angles are equal, has internal angles of 5π/7 radians (128.5714286 degrees). Its Schläfli symbol is {7}.


The area (A) of a regular heptagon of side length a is given by:

A = \frac{7}{4}a^2 \cot \frac{\pi}{7} \simeq 3.634 a^2.

This can be seen by subdividing the unit-sided heptagon into seven triangular "pie slices" with vertices at the center and at the heptagon's vertices, and then halving each triangle using the apothem as the common side. The apothem is half the cotangent of \pi/7, and the area of each of the 14 small triangles is one-fourth of the apothem.

The exact algebraic expression, starting from the polynomial x3 + x2 − 2x − 1 (one of whose roots is 2\cos \tfrac{2\pi}{7})[1]:pp. 186–187 is given by:

A = \frac{1}{4}\sqrt{\frac{7}{3}\left(35+2\sqrt[3]{196(13-3i\sqrt{3})}+2\sqrt[3]{196(13+3i\sqrt{3})}\right)}a^2,

where i is the imaginary unit.

The area of a regular heptagon inscribed in a circle of radius R is \tfrac{7R^2}{2}\sin\tfrac{2\pi}{7}, while the area of the circle itself is \pi R^2; thus the regular heptagon fills approximately 0.8710 of its circumscribed circle.


As 7 is a Pierpont prime but not a Fermat prime, regular heptagon is not constructible with compass and straightedge but is constructible with a marked ruler and compass. This type of construction is called a neusis construction. It is also constructible with compass, straightedge and angle trisector. The impossibility of straightedge and compass construction follows from the observation that \scriptstyle {2\cos{\tfrac{2\pi}{7}} \approx 1.247} is a zero of the irreducible cubic x3 + x2 − 2x − 1. Consequently this polynomial is the minimal polynomial of 2cos(7), whereas the degree of the minimal polynomial for a constructible number must be a power of 2.

A neusis construction of the interior angle in a regular heptagon.

A neusis construction of the interior angle in a regular heptagon. (method by John Horton Conway)

An animation of an approximate compass-and-straightedge construction of a regular heptagon.
Another animation of an approximate construction

\scriptstyle\angle{} AMB = 51.42855809...° ; 360° : 7 = 51.42857142...°
\scriptstyle\angle{} AMB - 360° : 7 = -0.00001333...°
Example to illustrating the error:
At a circumscribed circle radius r = 10 km,
the absolute error of the 1st side would be approximately -2.1 mm.
See also the calculation (Berechnung).


A decent approximation for practical use with an error of ≈0.2% is shown in the drawing. Let A lie on the circumference of the circumcircle. Draw arc BOC. Then \scriptstyle {BD = {1 \over 2}BC} gives an approximation for the edge of the heptagon.

A more accurate approximation

A regular heptagon with sides \scriptstyle {S = 3\tfrac{2}{11}} can be inscribed in a circle of the radius \scriptstyle {R = 3\tfrac{2}{3}} with an error of less than 0.00013%.

This follows from a rational approximation of \scriptstyle {\tfrac{S}{R} =\ 2 \sin{\tfrac{\pi}{7}} \approx 1-(\tfrac{4}{11})^2}.


Symmetries of a regular heptagon. Vertices are colored by their symmetry positions. Blue mirror lines are drawn through vertices and edges. Gyration orders are given in the center.

The regular heptagon has Dih7 symmetry, order 14. Since 7 is a prime number there is one subgroup with dihedral symmetry: Dih1, and 2 cyclic group symmetries: Z7, and Z1.

These 4 symmetries can be seen in 4 distinct symmetries on the heptagon. John Conway labels these by a letter and group order.[2] Full symmetry of the regular form is r14 and no symmetry is labeled a1. The dihedral symmetries are divided depending on whether they pass through vertices (d for diagonal) or edges (p for perpendiculars), and i when reflection lines path through both edges and vertices. Cyclic symmetries in the middle column are labeled as g for their central gyration orders.

Each subgroup symmetry allows one or more degrees of freedom for irregular forms. Only the g7 subgroup has no degrees of freedom but can seen as directed edges.

Star heptagons

Two kinds of star heptagons can be constructed from regular heptagons, labeled by Schläfli symbols {7/2}, and {7/3}, with the divisor being the interval of connection.

Blue, {7/2} and green {7/3} star heptagons inside a red heptagon.

Many police badges in the US have a 7:2 heptagram outline.


The United Kingdom currently (2011) has two heptagonal coins, the 50p and 20p pieces, and the Barbados Dollar is also heptagonal. The 20-eurocent coin has cavities placed similarly. Strictly, the shape of the coins is a Reuleaux heptagon, a curvilinear heptagon to make them curves of constant width: the sides are curved outwards so that the coin will roll smoothly in vending machines. Botswana pula coins in the denominations of 2 Pula, 1 Pula, 50 Thebe and 5 Thebe are also shaped as equilateral-curve heptagons. Coins in the shape of Reuleaux heptagons are in circulation in Mauritius, U.A.E., Tanzania, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Haiti, Jamaica, Liberia, Ghana, the Gambia, Jordan, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Guyana, Solomon Islands, Falkland Islands and Saint Helena. The 1000 Kwacha coin of Zambia is a true heptagon.

The Soviet days, used a {7/2} heptagram as an element.

In architecture, heptagonal floor plans are very rare. A remarkable example is the Mausoleum of Prince Ernst in Stadthagen, Germany.

Apart from the heptagonal prism and heptagonal antiprism, no convex polyhedron made entirely out of regular polygons contains a heptagon as a face.

Regular heptagons can tile the hyperbolic plane, as shown in this Poincaré disk model projection:

heptagonal tiling


The K7 complete graph is often drawn as a regular heptagon with all 21 edges connected. This graph also represents an orthographic projection of the 7 vertices and 21 edges of the 6-simplex. The regular skew polygon around the perimeter is called the petrie polygon.

6-simplex (6D)

Heptagon in natural structures

See also


  1. ^ Gleason, Andrew M. "Angle trisection, the heptagon, and the triskaidecagon", American Mathematical Monthly 95, March 1988, 185-194.
  2. ^ John H. Conway, Heidi Burgiel, Chaim Goodman-Strauss, (2008) The Symmetries of Things, ISBN 978-1-56881-220-5 (Chapter 20, Generalized Schaefli symbols, Types of symmetry of a polygon pp. 275-278)

External links

  • Definition and properties of a heptagon With interactive animation
  • Weisstein, Eric W., "Heptagon", MathWorld.
  • Another approximate construction method
  • Polygons – Heptagons
  • Recently discovered and highly accurate approximation for the construction of a regular heptagon.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.