# Coordinate systems Definition and 25 Discussions

In geometry, a coordinate system is a system that uses one or more numbers, or coordinates, to uniquely determine the position of the points or other geometric elements on a manifold such as Euclidean space. The order of the coordinates is significant, and they are sometimes identified by their position in an ordered tuple and sometimes by a letter, as in "the x-coordinate". The coordinates are taken to be real numbers in elementary mathematics, but may be complex numbers or elements of a more abstract system such as a commutative ring. The use of a coordinate system allows problems in geometry to be translated into problems about numbers and vice versa; this is the basis of analytic geometry.

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1. 2. ### I Coordinate Systems that are less common than Cartesian, Polar, Cylindrical & Spherical?

I have come across Cartesian, Polar, Cylindrical & Spherical Coordinate Systems so far and was wondering if someone could tell me which are the uncommon systems used in physics which everyone says that they exist but no one explicitly mentions. Is there a "standard reference" or are they just...
3. ### Frame indifference and stress tensor in Newtonian fluids

During lecture today, we were given the constitutive equation for the Newtonian fluids, i.e. ##T= - \pi I + 2 \mu D## where ##D=\frac{L + L^T}{2}## is the symmetric part of the velocity gradient ##L##. Dimensionally speaking, this makes sense to me: indeed the units are the one of a pressure...
4. ### A BMS coordinates near future null infinity

Let us consider Ashtekar's definition of asymptotic flatness at null infinity: I want to see how to construct the so-called Bondi coordinates ##(u,r,x^A)## in a neighborhood of ##\mathcal{I}^+## out of this definition. In fact, a distinct approach to asymptotic flatness already starts with...
5. ### Distinguishing between angular bisectors

Homework Statement :[/B] The following expression stands for the two angular bisectors for two lines : \frac{a_{1}x+b_{1}y+c_{1}}{\sqrt{a_{1}^{2}+b_{1}^{2}}}=\pm \frac{a_{2}x+b_{2}y+c_{2}}{\sqrt{a_{2}^{2}+b_{2}^{2}}}\qquad Homework Equations The equations for the two lines are : ##a_1x +...
6. ### I About spacetime coordinate systems

Hi, There is a point that, in my opinion, is not quite emphasized in the context of general relativity. It is the notion of spacetime coordinate systems that from the very foundation of general relativity are assumed to be all on the same footing. Nevertheless I believe each of them has to be...
7. ### A Construction of Bondi Coordinates on general spacetimes

I'm trying to understand the BMS formalism in General Relativity and I'm in doubt with the so-called Bondi Coordinates. In the paper Lectures on the Infrared Structure of Gravity and Gauge Theories Andrew Strominger points out in section 5.1 the following: In the previous sections, flat...
8. ### General relativity- Coordinate/metric transformations

Homework Statement Consider the metric ds2=(u2-v2)(du2 -dv2). I have to find a coordinate system (t,x), such that ds2=dt2-dx2. The same for the metric: ds2=dv2-v2du2. Homework Equations General coordinate transformation, ds2=gabdxadxb The Attempt at a Solution I started with a general...
9. ### Natural basis and dual basis of a circular paraboloid

Hi everyone! I'm trying to obtain the natural and dual basis of a circular paraboloid parametrized by: $$x = \sqrt U cos(V)$$ $$y = \sqrt U sen(V)$$ $$z = U$$ with the inverse relationship: $$V = \arctan \frac{y}{x}$$ $$U = z$$ The natural basis is: e_U = \frac{\partial \overrightarrow{r}}...
10. ### I Amplitudes of Fourier expansion of a vector as the generalized coordinates

When discussing about generalized coordinates, Goldstein says the following: "All sorts of quantities may be impressed to serve as generalized coordinates. Thus, the amplitudes in a Fourier expansion of vector(rj) may be used as generalized coordinates, or we may find it convenient to employ...
11. ### I Metric Tensor as Simplest Math Object for Describing Space

I've been reading Fleisch's "A Student's Guide to Vectors and Tensors" as a self-study, and watched this helpful video also by Fleisch: Suddenly co-vectors and one-forms make more sense than they did when I tried to learn the from Schutz's GR book many years ago. Especially in the video...
12. ### I How this definition of a reference frame is used?

In the book General Relativity for Mathematicians by Sachs and Wu, an observer is defined as a timelike future pointing worldline and a reference frame is defined as a timelike, future pointing vector field Z. In that sense a reference frame is a collection of observers, since its integral lines...
13. ### A How these notions relate to the usual SR approach?

In the context of General Relativity spacetime is a four-dimensional Lorentzian manifold M with metric tensor g, its Levi-Civita connection \nabla and a time orientation vector field T \in \Gamma(TM). In this context I've seem the following three definitions: A coordinate system is a chart...
14. ### I Orientation of the Earth, Sun and Solar System in the Milky Way

I've been tinkering with a few diagrams in an attempt to illustrate the motion of the solar system in its journey around the Milky Way. I also wanted portray how the celestial, ecliptic and galactic coordinate systems are related to each other in a single picture. Note: in the Celestial, or...
15. ### I GPS data

Hi there! Does anyone know where data from the GPS is available? Any data at all - positions. clock readings anything like that. Many thanks!
16. ### A A question about coordinate distance & geometrical distance

As I understand it, the notion of a distance between points on a manifold ##M## requires that the manifold be endowed with a metric ##g##. In the case of ordinary Euclidean space this is simply the trivial identity matrix, i.e. ##g_{\mu\nu}=\delta_{\mu\nu}##. In Euclidean space we also have that...
17. ### A Manifolds: local & global coordinate charts

I'm fairly new to differential geometry (learning with a view to understanding general relativity at a deeper level) and hoping I can clear up some questions I have about coordinate charts on manifolds. Is the reason why one can't construct global coordinate charts on manifolds in general...
18. ### Is polar coordinate system non inertial?

Studying the acceleration expressed in polar coordinates I came up with this doubt: is this frame to be considered inertial or non inertial? (\ddot r - r\dot{\varphi}^2)\hat{\mathbf r} + (2\dot r \dot\varphi+r\ddot{\varphi}) \hat{\boldsymbol{\varphi}} (1) I do not understand what is the...
19. ### Div and curl in other coordinate systems

My question is mostly about notation. I know the general definitions for divergence and curl, which can be derived from the divergence and Stokes' theorems respectively, are: \mathrm{div } \vec{E} \bigg| _P = \lim_{\Delta V \to 0} \frac{1}{\Delta V} \iint_{S} \vec{E} \cdot \mathrm{d} \vec{S}...
20. ### Non-Euclidean geometry and the equivalence principle

As I understand it, a Cartesian coordinate map (a coordinate map for which the line element takes the simple form ##ds^{2}=(dx^{1})^{2}+ (dx^{2})^{2}+\cdots +(dx^{n})^{2}##, and for which the coordinate basis ##\lbrace\frac{\partial}{\partial x^{\mu}}\rbrace## is orthonormal) can only be...
21. ### Covariant and contravariant basis vectors /Euclidean space

I want ask another basic question related to this paper - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/16742834.2011.11446922 If I have basis vectors for a curvilinear coordinate system(Euclidean space) that are completely orthogonal to each other(basis vectors will change from point to point)...
22. ### A question concerning Jacobians

Apologies for perhaps a very trivial question, but I'm slightly doubting my understanding of Jacobians after explaining the concept of coordinate transformations to a colleague. Basically, as I understand it, the Jacobian (intuitively) describes how surface (or volume) elements change under a...
23. ### Local parameterizations and coordinate charts

I have recently had a lengthy discussion on this forum about coordinate charts which has started to clear up some issues in my understanding of manifolds. I have since been reading a few sets of notes (in particular referring to John Lee's "Introduction to Smooth Manifolds") and several of them...
24. ### General relativity and curvilinear coordinates

I have just been asked why we use curvilinear coordinate systems in general relativity. I replied that, from a heuristic point of view, space and time are relative, such that the way in which you measure them is dependent on the reference frame that you observe them in. This implies that...
25. ### Choice of Origin of Coordinate Systems

I am having a personal discussion with somebody elsewhere (not on Physics Forums) and we are stuck at the moment because of a disagreement that I narrowed down to the question whether, in the context of SR, two observers in different reference frames can choose the origin of their coordinate...