Butterfly in Complex Numbers

Albrecht Hess

Butterfly theorem


Let $A, B, C, D$ be points on the unit circle and $M$ the intersection of $AB$ and $CD$.The equation of the points $Z$ on the secant line through $A$ and $B$ is


The lowercase letters refer to the complex numbers representing the corresponding points.Since $M$ is a point of $AB$ and $CD$ we have

$\displaystyle b=\frac{m-a}{1-a\,\overline{m}}$


$\displaystyle d=\frac{m-c}{1-c\,\overline{m}}.$

Let the secant $PQ$ be orthogonal to $OM$, hence tangent to the circle around $O$ through $M$. For a point $Z$ an $PQ$ we have therefore the equation


The intersection $X$ of $PQ$ and $AD$ can be obtained as a common solution of the equation of $PQ$ and the equation $z+ad\overline{z}=a+d$ of the secant line throught $A$ and $D$

$\displaystyle x=\frac{a\,m+d\,m-2ad\,m\overline{m}}{m-ad\,\overline{m}}.$

Insert the expression for $d$ from above and write $x$ as

$\displaystyle x=\frac{m(-a+c-m-ac\,\overline{m}+2a\,m\overline{m})} {-m-ac\,\overline{m}+a\,m\overline{m}+c\,m\overline{m}}.$

By the same argument, but inserting the expression for $b$ , we get for the intersection $Y$ of $PQ$ and $BC$ simply by interchanging $a$ and $c$

$\displaystyle y=\frac{m(-c+a-m-ac\,\overline{m}+2c\,m\overline{m})} {-m-ac\,\overline{m}+a\,m\overline{m}+c\,m\overline{m}}.$

The sum of $x$ and $y$ is indeed $2m$ and $M$ is the midpoint of $XY$.

Butterfly Theorem and Variants

  1. Butterfly theorem
  2. 2N-Wing Butterfly Theorem
  3. Better Butterfly Theorem
  4. Butterflies in Ellipse
  5. Butterflies in Hyperbola
  6. Butterflies in Quadrilaterals and Elsewhere
  7. Pinning Butterfly on Radical Axes
  8. Shearing Butterflies in Quadrilaterals
  9. The Plain Butterfly Theorem
  10. Two Butterflies Theorem
  11. Two Butterflies Theorem II
  12. Two Butterflies Theorem III
  13. Algebraic proof of the theorem of butterflies in quadrilaterals
  14. William Wallace's Proof of the Butterfly Theorem
  15. Butterfly theorem, a Projective Proof
  16. Areal Butterflies
  17. Butterflies in Similar Co-axial Conics
  18. Butterfly Trigonometry
  19. Butterfly in Kite
  20. Butterfly with Menelaus
  21. William Wallace's 1803 Statement of the Butterfly Theorem
  22. Butterfly in Inscriptible Quadrilateral
  23. Camouflaged Butterfly
  24. General Butterfly in Pictures
  25. Butterfly via Ceva
  26. Butterfly via the Scale Factor of the Wings
  27. Butterfly by Midline
  28. Stathis Koutras' Butterfly
  29. The Lepidoptera of the Circles
  30. The Lepidoptera of the Quadrilateral
  31. The Lepidoptera of the Quadrilateral II
  32. The Lepidoptera of the Triangle
  33. Two Butterflies Theorem as a Porism of Cyclic Quadrilaterals
  34. Two Butterfly Theorems by Sidney Kung
  35. Butterfly in Complex Numbers

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