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Ball coordinates to cartesian coordinates

  1. Jul 20, 2004 #1
    I am struggeling with the following problem:

    give the x,y,z coordinates from the following ball points/vectors

    1. (r, theta, phi) = (sqrt3, 3/4pi, 3/4pi)

    2. (r, theta, phi) = (1, 1/6pi, 1 1/6pi)

    the sollutions I found in my reader are as followed:

    1. (x, y, z) = (-1/2 sqrt3, 1/2 sqrt3, -sqrt3/sqrt2)

    2. (x, y, z) = 1/4 sqrt3, -1/4, 1/2 sqrt3)

    can someone explain to me what was actually done here? I understand the conversion from carthesian coordinates to ball and cylinder coordinates but I can't seem to find the sollution for the other way around. Thanks a lot.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2004 #2
    These equations might be of some use...
  4. Jul 20, 2004 #3


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    Yep. It seems the angles [tex]\theta[/tex] and [tex]\phi[/tex] are interchanged though.
    It's funny. In my physics books the azimuthal angle is always [tex]\phi[/tex] and in most of my mathematics books it's [tex]\theta[/tex].
    Oh well, guess it doesn`t matter as long as you're aware of it.
  5. Jul 20, 2004 #4


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    I would suggest that, instead of plugging this into a set of "conversion equations", you draw the situation (or even build a little model with a box) so that you see how the quantities are related. Once you do this with one problem, the second will be much easier.
  6. Jul 20, 2004 #5
    It brings this up.

  7. Jul 20, 2004 #6
    That's because notation is not as important as meaning, but we must always specify.

    Using astronomy language, I always used [tex]\theta[/tex] for "declination" (angle from vertical axe) and [tex]\phi[/tex] for "Right ascension" (angle from horizontal axe from left to right)
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