Question: Orthogonal, rotational matrices

I've got the following matrix :

A:=[<a,a-1,-b>|<a-1,a,-b>,<b,b,2a-1>] where <> are the column elements of A, a is  a real number defined on [0,1] and b^2=2a(1-a) 

a) to show A is an orthogonal matrix, I understand that I need A.Transpose(A)=Identity(3*3) but is there a way in which I can let a take a random real numbered value between 0 and 1? The rand() only returns an integer within a range. Directly multiplying A and Transpose(A) will return an expression in a, so what's the right approach?

b) from a) we can infer that A is a matrix that describes a rotation in e1,e2,e3 where these are the standard bases vectors in R3. How can I determine the rotation axis? The hint I've been given says I need to consider the Eigenvalues and eigen vectors but I don't quite understand how.

Please Wait...