A set of numbers used to quantify location in space.

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Non-inertial frames in Lagrangian mechanics?

Building on this Phys.SE post I am interested in how non-inertial frames can be considered in Lagrangian mechanics. My understanding is that changing the reference frame causes a transformation of the ...
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1answer
55 views

Manifolds, unit 2-sphere and stereographic projection

I am always passing through this example while reading about manifolds that I don't quite get. It is when describing the unit 2-sphere $S^2$ as an example of a manifold. They say, initially it may ...
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5answers
393 views

Does coordinate time have physical meaning?

I have always been a little confused by the meaning of the "$t$" which appears in spacetime intervals or metrics in general relativity. I concluded that $t$ was just a mathematical thing which allow ...
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2answers
200 views

Ball Bearing Inside a Hollow, Spinning Rod: where is the logical flaw?

As described in the title, suppose we have a frictionless, hollow rod that is rotating in the $xy$-plane with some fixed angular velocity $\omega$. The rod is pivoting around its midpoint. Suppose we ...
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1k views

How to determine satellite position in J2000 from latitude, longitude and distance from Earth?

Due to my task of writing orbit prediction routines I am trying to understand the reference frames better and how to use them ( particularly for Earth orbits ). I think I get the idea of what ECI ...
3
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126 views

Quantum mechanics with non-cartesian coordinates

Let say we have the classical hamiltonian of a harmonic oscillator: $$H=\frac{p_x^2+p_y^2+p_z^2}{2m}+\frac{k_1x^2+k_2y^2+k_3z^2}{2}$$ and we want to find the hamiltonian operator in quantum mechanics, ...
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1answer
114 views

Is there a technical term for “meaningfulness” of mathematical operations?

Is there a technical term for "meaningfulness" of mathematical operations? For example, adding vectors that represent forces has a meaning regardless of the coordinate frame, but an elementwise ...
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1answer
84 views

Are the cylindrical and spherical form of Jeans' equations equivalent?

The question kind of says it all, what I really want to know is are the differences in their forms only due to the co-ordinate transform? And as such should a suitable spherical system satisfy ...
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2answers
200 views

Can a curvature in time (and not space) cause acceleration?

I realize that the curvature of space-time causes acceleration (gravity). Is it possible to have a curvature only of space, or a curvature only of time? If so, would a curvature only of space, or a ...
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1answer
251 views

QM: How to compute position/momentum relation in polar coordinates

So if we are working in one dimensional space, we have the formula: $$\langle x|p\rangle = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi\hbar}} e^{ipx/\hbar}$$ Suppose instead we are confined to a circle of radius $R$ so that ...
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1answer
98 views

Primary direction in planet-centered equatorial reference frame

I am given the classical orbital elements of the orbit of a spacecraft around a planet which is not the Earth, say Venus. I assume those are referred to a reference frame whose fundamental plane is ...
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1answer
2k views

The trajectory of a projectile launched from a hilltop

Here is the problem: A boy stands at the peak of a hill which slopes downward uniformly at angle $\phi$. At what angle $\theta$ from the horizontal should he throw a rock so that it has the greatest ...
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69 views

How coordinate system shifting is related to similarity transformations?

I know that coordinate system shifting can be represented using matrices. But how exactly are similarity transformations related to coordinate shifts ?
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3k views

Converting between Galactic and Ecliptic coordinates

I was hoping someone would be able to tell me the formula to convert between ecliptic and galactic coordinates. I've been able to convert values using ...
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0answers
116 views

Is a solution to the Klein-Gordon equation homeomorphic (or even diffeomorphic) to a solution of an equation with a different covariance group?

Consider some solution $\psi(x,t)$ to the linear Klein-Gordon equation: $-\partial^2_t \psi + \nabla^2 \psi = m^2 \psi$. Up to homeomorphism, can $\psi$ serve as a solution to some other equation ...
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3answers
339 views

Is there a quick way of finding the kinetic energy on spherical coordinates?

Assume a particle in 3D euclidean space. Its kinetic energy: $$ T = \frac{1}{2}m\left(\dot x^2 + \dot y^2 + \dot z^2\right) $$ I need to change to spherical coordinates and find its kinetic energy: ...
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311 views

Why don't we define absolute coordinates?

Why don't we chose a random point in the void present between galaxy clusters and define it as the absolute origin? I know that rest is not absolute and that space expands, but we can easily keep ...
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3answers
755 views

Jacobian, Lorentz and Fourier Transformation

Jacobian, Lorentz and Fourier Transformation. I am confused with the physical interpretation/meaning of all these transformations. As far as I understood, Jacobian transforms from one coordinate ...
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2answers
165 views

Are solutions coordinate invariant?

In the case of electromagnetism, we can solve the sorceless wave equation in Cartesian coordinates ($x$,$y$,$z$) getting plane waves as solutions: $$ u(x) = A(x-ct) + B(x+ct) $$ and actually I am not ...
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5answers
258 views

On the coordinate independence of general relativity

I've been having a bit of trouble with the idea of coordinate independence in general relativity. Let me start with a simple example that I think illustrates my question conceptually: Say you have ...
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2answers
7k views

Derive vector gradient in spherical coordinates from first principles

Trying to understand where the $\frac{1}{r sin(\theta)}$ and $1/r$ bits come in the definition of gradient. I've derived the spherical unit vectors but now I don't understand how to transform ...
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3answers
238 views

Two-rotation coordinate transformation

I've designed an electronic device that uses a 3-axis accelerometer to measure the acceleration of an automobile. I'm only interested in accelerations in the plane of the road surface, so I want to ...
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2answers
112 views

Whose reference frame to use for $d \theta$ near a black hole?

Using the Schwarzchild metric for a body circularly orbiting a nonspinning black hole (i.e. $dr=0$), the relation between $d\tau$, the time between two light pulses sent out infinitesimally close ...
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2answers
86 views

What coordinate systems allows the magnitude of the basis vectors to change with position?

I'm familiar with coordinate systems where the direction of the basis vectors changes with position, but I haven't come across any where the relative magnitude of the basis vectors themselves are ...
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2answers
146 views

Why doesn't a global frame of reference exist for GR?

I only have at best a layperson's familiarity with GR, so forgive me if I am asking a basic question, but I have heard that in GR, we cannot have a global frame of reference, that is a frame of ...
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84 views

Show that two families of curves are orthogonal (without using orthogonal trajectories)

I'm reading through Hartle's General Relativity and came across this question: Consider the following coordinate transformation from rectangular coordinates $(x,y)$, labeling points in the plane ...
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2answers
4k views

Expression of kinetic energy in polar coordinates

Expression for kinetic energy in Cartesian coordinate: Expression for kinetic energy in polar coordinate (applying the transformation of coordinates): Why can't we express it in the following ...
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1answer
431 views

Electromagnetic Tensor in Cylindrical Coordinates

I understand that the Electromagnetic Tensor is given by $$F^{\mu\nu}\mapsto\begin{pmatrix}0 & -E_{x} & -E_{y} & -E_{z}\\ E_{x} & 0 & -B_{z} & B_{y}\\ E_{y} & B_{z} & ...
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2answers
321 views

Coordinate transformation from earth to solar

I am building a 3d model of the solar system and need to figure out the position of the pole stars of each planet in order to tilt the planets in the correct direction the correct amount. I've already ...
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1answer
82 views

Gradient and curl of a field in polar coordinates

How do we determine the gradient and curl of a scalar/vector field in polar coordinates? For instance, if we have the following potential energy function for a force, $$U = ...
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2answers
442 views

A few questions on passive vs active Lorentz transformations

1.) How do we physically interpret an active Lorentz transformation? The passive transformation seems simple enough: you view a fixed object from the perspective of a new observer. When we actively ...
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2answers
211 views

Momentum vector transformation

I am confused about the way momentum vector transforms in the following case: $$q_k \to q_k'= q_k + \epsilon f_k(q)$$ The Jacobian is thus $\Lambda_{ij} = \frac{\partial q'_i}{\partial q_j} \approx ...
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4answers
97 views

Special Relativity moving in space

Given that time is 'just another' dimension and people get hung up on the fact that we cannot go back and forth in time like the other dimensions. Is there any proof that the corner of 8th Avenue and ...
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1answer
88 views

What is the most general definition of a coordinate system?

What is the most general definition of a coordinate system? Specificly: given a suitably general metric space $(\mathcal S, s)$ consisting of a set $\mathcal S$ of elements (for instance: a set ...
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2answers
157 views

Curved space-time VS change of coordinates in Minkowski space

I'm looking for a rather intuitive explanation (or some references) of the difference between the metric of a curved space-time and the metric of non-inertial frames. Consider an inertial reference ...
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2answers
65 views

How do I modify a 3-D simulation grid to be 2-D?

I am creating a particle in cell simulation that models an electron plasma in a cylindrical container. Part of this process is assigning charge density to grid points based on the position of each ...
2
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1answer
185 views

Curvilinear coordinate system around body of revolution

In Boundary-Layer Theory by Schlichting he gives the boundary-layer equations for a body of revolution according to the paper by Boltze$^1$. Unfortunately, this paper is in German. He apparently uses ...
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1answer
81 views

Riemann normal chart and special relativity

When you pick Riemann normal coordinates at a point, then the Christoffel symbols vanish and the metric is flat, but the Riemann curvature tensor does not necessarily vanish. Since Einstein said that ...
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2answers
455 views

Local inertial coordinates/Fermi normal coordinates

It is said that we can introduce local inertial coordinates/Fermi normal coordinates for any timelike geodesic. But why only for timelike geodesics? What about null geodesics? Perhaps it has to do ...
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1answer
201 views

What is the physical intepretation of harmonic coordinates?

When I see harmonic coordinates used somewhere, what should my association be? Is there some general use or need to consider the harmonic cooridnate condition? I don't really see what's ...
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2answers
716 views

What is a Kustaanheimo-Stiefel transformation?

What is a Kustaanheimo-Stiefel transformation? Which applications has it in physics? Can you point me to a reference, where this transformation is explained?
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1answer
73 views

Do Einstein's equations allow multiple solutions that agree in a neighborhood of a spacelike hypersurface?

This question is an extension of my a question that I have recently asked: Why doesn't a global frame of reference exist for GR?, where it was recommended that I post another question (so I am ...
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2answers
112 views

How are FRW metric and Minkowski metric physically different?

According to GR, matrices are coordinate invariant. Does this mean we can transform FRW metric to Minkowski metric with a coordinate transformation like $$dx'=dx\cdot a(t), dy' = dy\cdot a(t), dz' = ...
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1answer
364 views

How to transform material permittivity tensor from Cartesian coordinates to another orthogonal coordinate system?

I have a material specified by a permittivity tensor written in Cartesian coordiantes: $$\begin{pmatrix} \epsilon_{xx} & \epsilon_{xy} & \epsilon_{xz}\\ \epsilon_{yx} &\epsilon_{yy} ...
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1answer
77 views

Electric field in a cylinder

We have electric charge density $\rho(r) = kr$ in a cylinder of infinite height and radius $a$. I'm asked to find the electric field. I'm doing it using two methods and I don't undesrtand why then ...
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2answers
305 views

Exercise about Lagrange-Euler equations

I'm solving an exercise about the Lagrange-Euler equations, that states the following: Let $\gamma (t) = \{ (t,q) : q = q(t), t_0 \leq t \leq t_1\}$ be a curve in $\mathbb{R} \times \mathbb{R}^2$. ...
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1answer
296 views

Deriving the Schwarzschild solution

I am CS student and i want to create graphical simulation of black hole, so I need to use The Schwarzschild solution to calculate possible coordinates of given body every second. First try in 2D ...
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1answer
214 views

Expression of electrostatic field

An electrostatic field is characterized by the fact that it depends only by $r$, isn't it? If it is true, I don't understand why this expression, given in cylindrical coordinates, $${\bf ...
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1answer
69 views

Why is it not possible to distinguish left from right by means of a coil?

Why is it not possible to explain to an alien "at the phone" which side is left and which is the right side by defining a simple experimental setup using induction? Defining for instance downwards ...
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2answers
75 views

Velocity in a turning reference frame

I often see the relation that $\vec v=\vec v_0+ \vec \omega \times \vec r$ in a turning reference frame, but where does it actually come from and how do I arrive at the acceleration being $$\vec ...