# Polar coordinates of solar system

• DaveC426913
In summary, the table has the planets going around the sun clockwise, but the coords are labelled counterclockwise. This can be confusing to figure out when the planets can be seen.
DaveC426913
Gold Member
I was perusing an astronomy homework site and came across a question in which they are asked to plot the positions of the 3 inner planets on polar graph paper. They are then asked questions about visibility and time of day in Earth's sky.

The table:
Code:
[FONT="Courier New"]
Location Venus Earth Mars
1      280   270   310
2      325   300   324
3       18   330   338
4       68     0   352
5      115    30     6
6      165    60    20
7      213    90    34[/FONT]

What strikes me as odd about this table is that it has the planets going around the sun clockwise. Either
- this is to be viewed from below the solar system's South pole looking up
- the sequence of 7 is last to first.
- the graph coords should be labelled in counterclockwise direction
Whichever way, it's going to be pretty confusing to figure out when the planets can be seen when.

Am I missing something?

Mayby I'm missing something, but if you use the standard polar conversion

$$\left(x,y\right) = r \left(\cos(\theta), \sin(\theta) \right)$$

the planets do go counter-clockwise as expected. For instance, Earth go from from a position on the negative y-axis at 1, over a position at the positive x-axis at 4, to a position on the positive y-axis at 7 (around half a year).

Filip Larsen said:
Mayby I'm missing something, but if you use the standard polar conversion

$$\left(x,y\right) = r \left(\cos(\theta), \sin(\theta) \right)$$

the planets do go counter-clockwise as expected. For instance, Earth go from from a position on the negative y-axis at 1, over a position at the positive x-axis at 4, to a position on the positive y-axis at 7 (around half a year).

Ah. Ok, so c] the coords are labelled counterclockwise, (and if I understand you correctly, 0 is at the bottom.)

I'd just assumed I'd start with 0 at the top and label degrees clockwise around the graph. But it appears there is a convention to polar coords then.

Thanks.

## What are polar coordinates?

Polar coordinates are a coordinate system that uses a distance (r) and an angle (θ) to locate a point in space. The distance is measured from a fixed origin, usually the center of a circle, and the angle is measured counterclockwise from a reference line.

## How are polar coordinates used in the solar system?

Polar coordinates are used to locate and track objects in the solar system. They are particularly useful for determining the positions and movements of planets, moons, and other celestial bodies in relation to the sun.

## What is the center of the polar coordinate system in the solar system?

The center of the polar coordinate system in the solar system is the sun. This is because the sun is the central and largest object in our solar system, and all other objects revolve around it.

## Why are polar coordinates important in studying the solar system?

Polar coordinates are important in studying the solar system because they allow scientists to more accurately map and track the movements of objects in space. This is especially useful for predicting future positions and behaviors of celestial bodies.

## Can polar coordinates be used to study objects beyond our solar system?

Yes, polar coordinates can be used to study objects beyond our solar system. They are a widely used coordinate system in astronomy and can be applied to any object in space, regardless of its distance from our solar system.

• Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
Replies
21
Views
2K
• Astronomy and Astrophysics
Replies
142
Views
115K
• Aerospace Engineering
Replies
5
Views
2K
• Engineering and Comp Sci Homework Help
Replies
2
Views
2K
• Calculus and Beyond Homework Help
Replies
1
Views
3K
• MATLAB, Maple, Mathematica, LaTeX
Replies
5
Views
3K
• General Math
Replies
5
Views
2K
• General Discussion
Replies
4
Views
3K
• MATLAB, Maple, Mathematica, LaTeX
Replies
2
Views
2K
• Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
19
Views
17K