# How to Find Horizontal Asymptotes

Finding horizontal asymptotes is an essential part of understanding the behavior of a function as it approaches positive or negative infinity. Here are the steps to find horizontal asymptotes:

1. Understand the Concept:
• A horizontal asymptote is a horizontal line that a function approaches as the input values (x-values) become very large or very small. It’s represented as y = a, where ‘a’ is a constant.
2. Check for a Degree Discrepancy:
• Compare the degrees of the numerator and denominator of the rational function.
• If the degree of the numerator is less than the degree of the denominator, the horizontal asymptote is y = 0.
• If the degree of the numerator is equal to the degree of the denominator, there may or may not be a horizontal asymptote. Further analysis is needed.
• If the degree of the numerator is greater than the degree of the denominator, there is no horizontal asymptote.
• For functions where the degrees are the same, consider the leading coefficients.
• If the leading coefficients are the same, the horizontal asymptote is determined by dividing the leading coefficients.
• If the leading coefficient of the numerator is greater than the leading coefficient of the denominator, there is no horizontal asymptote.
4. Apply Limits as x Approaches Infinity:
• For functions where the degrees are the same and the leading coefficients are equal, evaluate the limit as x approaches infinity.
• Use L’HÃ´pital’s Rule if necessary (if both the numerator and denominator approach infinity).
• If the limit approaches a finite number ‘L’, then the horizontal asymptote is y = L.
• If the limit approaches positive or negative infinity, there is no horizontal asymptote.
5. Consider Special Cases:
• Some functions have unique behaviors that may not follow these rules. For instance, rational functions with factors that cancel out can have different asymptotic behavior.
6. Graphical Confirmation:
• Plot the function on a graphing calculator or software to visually confirm the horizontal asymptote.

Remember, these steps provide a general approach to finding horizontal asymptotes, but there can be exceptions and special cases. Always consider the specific characteristics of the function you are analyzing.