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This applet is currently under construction!!! There is a good chance there are several bugs, both in the Java code and the mathematical calculations. Please keep this in mind.

This applet demonstrates how spherical coordinates are represented in three-dimensional space. Spherical coordinates are very useful when describing points on a sphere or in systems with spherical symmetry. The three spherical coordinates (radius, theta, and azimuthal angle phi) are related to the standard cartesian coordinates x,y, and z in a way that may seem complicated at first. It is the hope that this applet will clear up some of the confusion between the two systems.

A vector is drawn in yellow. It's coordinates in both Cartesian and Spherical systems are shown. Any of the components in either system can be changed. Note that changing one value in one system will usually change all three values in the other system.

The three sliders controlling angles Alpha, Beta, and Gamma represent a quick and dirty Eulerian Angle rotation system which allows the user the ability to rotate the view of the sphere from any angle. This can be quite useful.

Jeffrey Wasserman
February 8, 2004