# Homework Help: Spherical coordinate system

1. Jul 15, 2009

### Mathysics

I do not understand Spherical coordinate system.

I'm asked to compare the differences with Cartesian coordinate but I have no idea how to start.

So I would like some help that will at least give me a understanding of the spherical coordinate system, thx

2. Jul 15, 2009

### Cyosis

Let's stick to the 2-d case first. That means we compare Cartesian coordinates with polar coordinates. In Cartesian you need an x coordinate and a y coordinate to describe a fixed point on the grid. How do you describe such a point in polar coordinates?

3. Jul 15, 2009

### Mathysics

(magnitude,angle)

The task is to investigate the spherical coordinate system, which I haven't learn but I have no idea what to do

4. Jul 15, 2009

### Cyosis

Yes it's the distance to that point and an angle. Keeping the distance to a point constant while rotating the angle 2pi rad you will get a circle. How can you extend this system so that instead of a circle you get a sphere?

5. Jul 25, 2009

### Hootenanny

Staff Emeritus
Wikipedia and Wolfram's Mathworld have pretty good pages on spherical coordinates, I would suggest that you try having a look there.

6. Jul 25, 2009

### HallsofIvy

You put those numbers into the formula and do exactly what the formula says! y= 4 and x= 3 so y/x= 4/3. What is arctan(4/3)?