Questions on spherical coordinates, a three-dimensional coordinate system where a point is represented in terms of its distance from the origin, and its latitude and longitude angles (or complements thereof).

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13
votes
2answers
4k views

How can I pick a random point on the surface of a sphere with equal distribution?

I've got a random number generator that yields values between 0 and 1, and I'd like to use it to select a random point on the surface of a sphere where all points on the sphere are equally likely. ...
12
votes
5answers
41k views

Surface Element in Spherical Coordinates

In spherical polars, $$x=r\cos(\phi)\sin(\theta)$$ $$y=r\sin(\phi)\sin(\theta)$$ $$z=r\cos(\theta)$$ I want to work out an integral over the surface of a sphere - ie $r$ constant. I'm able to derive ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Can someone please explain the cube to sphere mapping formula to me?

I am wondering if anyone could explain how the following formula works, it is supposed to take the input as a point on a cube then map that to points on a sphere, please go gentle on me, I'm in 9th ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

How to perform a Fourier transform in spherical coordinates?

For a function $f(r, \vartheta, \varphi)$ given in spherical coordinates, how can the Fourier transform be calculated best? Possible ideas: express $(r,\vartheta,\varphi)$ in cartesian coordinates, ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Rotating a point in spherical coordinates around Cartesian axis

If I have a point in spherical coordinates, and I rotate it around one of the Cartesian axes, what will be the new spherical coordinates for the point? Both spherical and Cartesian coordinate systems ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is the differential solid angle have a $\sin\theta$ term in integration in spherical coordinates?

When you integrate in spherical coordinates, the differential element isn't just $ d\theta d\phi $. No. It's $\sin\theta d\theta d\phi$, where $\theta$ is the inclination angle and $\phi$ is the ...
7
votes
5answers
27k views

What is the general formula for calculating dot and cross products in spherical coordinates?

I was writing a C++ class for working with 3D vectors. I have written operations in the Cartesian coordinates easily, but I'm stuck and very confused at spherical coordinates. I googled my question ...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

Three Dimensional Fourier Transform of Radial Function without Bessel and Neumann

I am trying to compute the Fourier transform of $\frac1{|\mathbf{x}|^2+1}$ where $\mathbf{x}\in\mathbb{R}^3$. Just writing out the integral: $\int_{-\infty}^{\infty}\int_{-\infty}^{\infty}\int_{-\...
7
votes
2answers
829 views

How do I convert a vector field in Cartesian coordinates to spherical coordinates?

I have a vector field in terms of $\mathbf{\hat i}$, $\mathbf{\hat j}$, and $\mathbf{\hat k}$, $$\mathbf{F} = x\mathbf{\hat i} + y\mathbf{\hat j} + z\mathbf{\hat k}$$ How do I convert it to the ...
7
votes
0answers
138 views

When is separation of variables possible?

In classical PDE courses it is common to learn to perform a change of variables without really learning how to find the adequate equations of the change (polar, cylindrical or spherical coordinates ...
6
votes
2answers
13k views

Distance between two points in spherical coordinates

I want to find the distance between two points in spherical coordinates, so I want to express $||x-x'||$ where $x=(r,\theta, \phi)$ and $x' = (r', \theta',\phi')$ by the respective components. Is this ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Vector sum in spherical coordinates

I can't seem to come up with a simple formula to head-tail adding two vectors in spherical coordinates. So I'd like to know: Can anybody point out a way to do it in spherical coordinates (without ...
6
votes
2answers
521 views

Prove that hyperspherical coordinates are a diffeomorphism, derive Jacobian

The explicit form for the transformation into hyperspherical coordinates is $$x_1 = r\sin\theta_1 \sin\theta_2 \dotsb \sin \theta_{n-1} \\ x_2 = r\sin\theta_1 \sin\theta_2 \dotsb \cos \theta_{n-1} \\ ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Parametric Equation for Great Circle

So I've been doing a lot of searching and haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. My math skills are a bit rusty, so I haven't had luck deriving this on my own. What I'm looking for is an ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How to find the distance between a point and line joining two points on a sphere?

How do I calculate the distance between the line joining the two points on a spherical surface and another point on same surface? I have illustrated my problem in the image below. In the above ...
5
votes
2answers
17k views

Great arc distance between two points on a unit sphere

Suppose I have two points on a unit sphere whose spherical coordinates are $(\theta_1, \varphi_1)$ and $(\theta_2, \varphi_2)$. What is the great arc distance between these two points? I found ...
5
votes
1answer
314 views

Are spherical coordinates unique orthogonal coordinates on sphere?

Spherical coordinates on unit sphere are defined by the following transformation: $$\begin{cases}x=\sin\theta\cos\varphi\\ y=\sin\theta\sin\varphi\\ z=\cos\theta\end{cases}$$ Are these coordinates ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the geodesic between a point and a line (geodesic between two points) on an oblate spheroid?

I found a similiar question that also asks for the distance from a point to a line but works on a sphere. Now I'm trying to figure out the length of the geodesic line ...
5
votes
4answers
11k views

Find volume of the cap of a sphere of radius R with thickness h

I have to determine the volume and the formula for the volume for this spherical cap of height $h$, and the radius of the sphere is $R$: Two methods: *I just need help setting up the triple ...
5
votes
1answer
84 views

The centre of the earth

I'm a real beginner here (first post and first foray into math since high school, trying to catch up), so I'm going to try my best to explain my problem in mathematical terms then follow up with an ...
5
votes
3answers
165 views

Show that $\nabla\cdot\left(\dfrac{\mathbf{e}_r}{r^2}\right)=4\pi\delta(\mathbf{r})$ using the divergence theorem.

The book answer goes as follows: By the divergence theorem, in spherical coordinates we find $$\color{red}{\iiint_\limits{\large\text{volume}\,\tau}\nabla\cdot\...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Intersection of two arcs on sphere

I have two arcs on a sphere that are defined as pair of points: (θ₀, φ₀), (θ₁, φ₁). I need to find a point where they intersect, or some indication if they don't. What is important is that they are ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

Rotation matrix in spherical coordinates

When given arbitrary point on a unit sphere $a = (\theta, \phi)$ and an arbitrary axis $\vec{A}=(\Theta, \Phi)$, can we have an algebraic expression for $a_1=(\theta_1, \phi_1)$ which is a rotation of ...
5
votes
1answer
348 views

Circle from three points on surface of sphere

I need to compute the circle on the surface of a sphere given three points on that very surface. It is very easy to do that in Euclidean geometry, but the sphere has no x and y, but just two angles ...
5
votes
0answers
1k views

3d-diffusion equation in spherical coordinates (numerical), boundary problem

There is one boundary problem $$\frac{\partial u}{\partial t}= \operatorname{div}\left(a^2 E \nabla u\left(r,\varphi,\psi \right) \right) $$ in a ball $$ B_{1}(0)=\left\{x \in \mathbb{R^3}: \left\| ...
4
votes
2answers
301 views

Integrating a jacobian to find the volume.

I want to solve the following: Prove that $$\displaystyle \int_R \sin^{n-2}\phi_1 \sin^{n-3}\phi_2\cdots\sin \phi_{n-2} d\theta d\phi_1\cdots d\phi_{n-2} = \frac{2\pi^{n/2}}{\Gamma(n/2)}$$ where $ ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

How to calculate volume of a cylinder using triple integration in “spherical” co-ordinate system?

Lets have a cylinder given by $x^2+y^2=1$ which is cut from the top by plane $z=2$ and bottom by $z=-2$.I am having problem regarding the limits of ρ for the equation ∭ ρ sin^2ϕ dρ dϕ dθ where ϕ is ...
4
votes
2answers
112 views

Geometry: What is being calculated here?

Context: I am a computer graphics programmer looking at a code-implementation. I need help understanding a function that has neither been documented properly nor commented. Given a circle with ...
4
votes
1answer
324 views

Electrostatic Potential Energy integral in spherical coordinates

I'm having trouble with evaluating an integral that arises from attempting to find the total energy of an electrostatic system consisting of two point charges, which involves an integral over all ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to integrate by parts in spherical coordinates

I'm running into some troubles with the integration of a spherically symmetric 3D function. I'm having the following expression to evaluate : $$ I=\int_0^{2\pi} d\phi \int_0^\pi \sin\theta d\theta\...
4
votes
2answers
127 views

Integral in 3 dimensions

I am trying to integrate $$ \iiint \delta(|\mathbf r| -R)\:\mathrm{d}^{3}\mathbf{r} $$ I know that $ \int f(r) \delta(r-R) d^3 \mathbf r =f(R) $, but when I try to apply this here I end up ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to calculate a Vector Field in Spherical Coordinates

I am having trouble with the following problem. I keep on getting a long unmanagable result - so any suggestion as to where I've gone wrong/how to do this would be a lifesaver! Please? Consider a ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How to integrate a vector function in spherical coordinates?

How to integrate a vector function in spherical coordinates? In my specific case, it's an electric field on the axis of charged ring (see image below), the integral is pretty easy, but I don't ...
4
votes
1answer
548 views

Stokes' and Divergence Theorem Problems

I have 2 questions on stokes and divergence theorem each. I think I have done both and I just want to make sure that I did them correctly. Question 1 Let $C$ be the boundary of the surface $S={(x,y,z)...
4
votes
1answer
237 views

Transformations from n-sphere coordinates to cartesian coordinates.

I was wondering how one would proceed to convert between coordinate systems in $ \mathbb R^n $. For $ \mathbb R^2 $ the conversion is easy and just basic trigonometry. Given $(r, \theta)$ we can ...
4
votes
1answer
528 views

Surface area of the part of the sphere $x^2+y^2+z^2=a^2$ that is inside the cylinder $x^2+y^2=ax$

I've been solving some surface area problems lately, but I don't think that the same approach that I was using will work with this one (or at least will result in a lot work). So, I believe I should ...
4
votes
1answer
887 views

Laplace-Beltrami on a sphere

I'm trying to compute the Laplace-Beltrami of the function $u(r,\varphi,\theta) = 12\sin(3\varphi)\sin^3(\theta)$ on a unit sphere. Note that $\varphi$ is the azimuth, i.e. $\varphi \in [0,2\pi]$ and $...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

derivatives transformation

I'm currently doing a calculation for the connection coefficients using the standard space-time coordinates, namely x[0],x[1],x[2],x[3]. The setup is a spherically symmetric problem. In my ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

How to find the 3D coordinates on a celestial sphere's surface?

With celestial I don't mean a normal sphere, but I mean one that uses the altitude and an azimuth angle system. This is what I mean for example: (the star in the image represents an example of a ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Projection of Gaussian in Spherical Coordinates

Consider a point with spherical coordinates $\vec{r}_0=(r_0, \theta_0, 0)$. The spherical gaussian distribution centered at $\vec{r}_0$ is $f(\vec{r})=Ne^{|\vec{r}-\vec{r}_0|^2/A}$, where $N$ is the ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

Coordinates on the sphere not global?

I'm reading a book on differential geometry and some part of the introduction I do not understand but I'm curious to understand it. Maybe someone can try to explain those parts to me. "Each point on ...
4
votes
1answer
53 views

How to compute the following Jacobian

I need to show that the Jacobian of the n-dimensional spherical coordinates is $$\displaystyle r^{n-1}\sin^{n-2}\phi_1\sin^{n-3}\phi_2\cdots\sin\phi_{n-2}$$ then I have computed the Jacobian matrix, ...
4
votes
2answers
103 views

Integral using spherical coordinates

I am trying to compute the volume of the following set : intersection of cylinder $x^2 + y^2 \leq R$ and sphere $x^2 + y^2 + z^2 \leq 4R^2$. I am having trouble setting up the integral properly ...
4
votes
2answers
85 views

Triple integral over a sphere with parameter $2n$?

I need to intergrate $x^{2n}+y^{2n}+z^{2n}$ over a sphere of equation $x²+y²+z²=1$. I have thought of changing the coordinates from cartesian to spherical but I don't know how to deal with the ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Projection of a 3D spherical distribution function in to a 2D cartesian plane

Consider a 3D spherical Gaussian distribution function that depends on radius only, $$f(r) = \frac{1}{N} e^{-(\frac{r-R_\mu}{\sigma})^2}$$ where $R_\mu$ is the radial offset of the distribution and $...
4
votes
3answers
56 views

Evaluate the integral using spherical coordinates

Given the integral $\int^{1}_{0}\int^{\sqrt{1-x^{2}}}_{0}\int^{\sqrt{1-x^{2}-y^{2}}}_{0} \dfrac{1}{x^{2}+y^{2}+z^{2}}dzdxdy$ I need to evaluate this using spherical coordinates. So far I have that $...
4
votes
0answers
220 views

$\operatorname{div}$ and $\operatorname{grad}$ in spherical coordinates. Formula from general relativity goes crazy

I try to calculate the gradient of a function and the divergence of a vector field in spherical coordinates. Nothing special so far, but a formula that I learned in a general relativity lecture ...
4
votes
0answers
116 views

Probably Riemann surface integral

Here is the integral: May you please suggest some beautiful idea on using Riemann surface, or some Gauss-Ostrogradsky at the beginning. Also, the initial integral looks really symmetric, so maybe ...
3
votes
1answer
315 views

why is the laplacian of 1/r equal zero outside the origin?

In spherical coordinates, the laplacian can be written as: $\nabla^2 = \frac{1}{r}\frac{\partial^2}{\partial r^2}r + \frac{1}{r^2 \sin \theta}\frac{\partial}{\partial \theta}(\sin \theta \frac{\...
3
votes
2answers
142 views

Rotate a unit sphere such as to align it two orthogonal unit vectors

I have two orthogonal vectors $a$, $b$, which lie on a unit sphere (i.e. unit vectors). I want to apply one or more rotations to the sphere such that $a$ is transformed to $c$, and $b$ is transformed ...