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Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod

College of Engineering

Sperical
Trigonometry
In partial fulfilment of the requirements
in Math 402E: Plane and Spherical Trigonometry

Jefferson P. Aries BSME1

SPHERICAL TRIGONOMETRY
- the study of the relations connecting the sides and angles of a spherical triangle
- is a branch of trigonometry that concerns with triangles extracted from the surface of
the sphere
- basic in astronomy, surveying and navigation
- time of day, directions of sailing and flying, positions of ships, airplanes and reference
points

Great circle a circle cut from a sphere by a plane through the center of the sphere. It divides
the sphere into two equal parts.
Ex: circles NWS and PBAP
Arc length angle subtended by the arc at the center of the sphere
Ex: arc AB has arc length of
Quarter of a great circle has an arc length of 90
An arc of 1 on a sphere equal to the earth in volume is a nautical mile and has 6080.3 ft.
Thus 90 has 5400 nautical miles.
Poles of the circle a line through the center O of a sphere perpendicular to the plane of a circle
on the sphere cuts the sphere in two points
Ex: P and P
Polar distance of a circle least distance on a sphere from a point on the circle to its pole
Ex: Polar distance of great circle is 90.
Polar distance of TQR is arc PR.
Theorem: If the planes of two great circles are perpendicular, then their great circle passes
through the poles of the other and conversely.
Lune one of the parts in which a sphere is divided by two diametral planes
Ex: PABPSR
Earth ellipsoidal in shape about 7918 statute miles in diameter
Axis line through the center where the earth revolves

Poles points in which its axis cuts the surface; north and south poles

Equator is a great circle cut from the earth by a plane perpendicular to the axis of the earth
through the center
Parallel of latitude (parallel) is a small circle cut from the earth by a plane parallel to the
equatorial plane
Meridian is half of a great circle on the earth terminated by the north pole and the south pole
Latitude angular distance from the equator along a meridian through the place
- measured north or south of the equator from 0-90
Longitude angle at either pole between the meridian passing through the point and some fixed
meridian known as the prime meridian
- measured east or west of the PM from 0-180

SPHERICAL TRIANGLE
- consists of three arcs of great circles that form the boundaries of a portion of a spherical
surface
- the vertices will be denoted by A, B and C, and the sides opposite by a, b and c

Important Propositions from Solid Geometry:


1 If two angles of a spherical triangle are equal, the sides opposite are equal; and
conversely.
2 If two angles of a spherical triangle are unequal, the sides opposite are unequal, and the
greater side lies opposite the greater angle; and conversely.
3 The sum of two sides of a spherical triangle is greater than the third side. In symbols,
a+b>c
4 The sum of the sides of a spherical triangle is less than 360. In symbols,
0 < a + b + c < 360
5 The sum of the angles of a spherical triangle is greater than 180 and less than 540;
that is,
180 < A + B + C < 540
6 The sum of any two angles of a spherical triangle is less than 180 plus the third angle;
that is,
A + B < 180 + C
SOLUTION OF SPHERICAL TRIANGLES
Law of cosines for the sides:
cos a = cos b cos c + sin b sin c cos A
cos b = cos a cos c + sin a sin c cos B
cos c = cos a cos b + sin a sin b cos C
Law of cosines for angles:
cos A = - cos B cos C + sin B sin C cos a
cos B = - cos A cos C + sin A sin C cos b
cos C = - cos A cos B + sin A sin B cos c
Law of sines:

sin A sin B sinC


=
=
sin a sin b sin c

RIGHT SPHERICAL TRIANGLE


- one of the angles is 90
Formulas Relating to Right Spherical Triangles:
tan a = tan c cos B
tan a = sin b tan A
tan b = sin a tan B
tan b = tan c cos A
cos c = cot A cot B
sin a = sin c sin A
sin b = sin c sin B
cos c = cos a cos b
cos A = cos a sin B
cos B = cos b sin A
NAPIERS RULES

co-A = complement of A = 90 - A
co-B = complement of B = 90 - B
co-c = complement
a, b, co-c, co-A and co-B are called the circular parts
If a is the middle part, b and co-B are adjacent to a and co-c and co-A are opposite to a.
Recall: (same with co-B and co-c)
sin A = cos co-A = cos (90 - A)
cos A = sin co-A = sin (90 - A)
tan A = cot co-A = cot (90 - A)
cot A = tan co-A = tan (90 - A)
sec A = csc co-A = csc (90 - A)
csc A = sec co-A = sec (90 - A)

Napiers Rule:
I. The sine of any middle part is equal to the product of the cosines of the opposite parts.
II. The sine of any middle part is equal to the product of the tangents of the adjacent parts.
sin middle = cos opposite = tan adjacent
LQ1: In a right spherical triangle an oblique angle and the side opposite are of the same
quadrant.
LQ2: When the hypotenuse of a right spherical triangle is
(a) less than 90, the two legs are of the same quadrant and conversely.
(b) greater than 90, one leg is of the first quadrant, the other of the second, and
conversely.
Quadrantal Triangles
- a spherical triangle having a side equal to 90
CLASSICAL METHODS OF SOLVING SPHERICAL TRIANGLES
Case 1: Two sides and included angle are given.
Case 2: Two angles and the included side.
Case 3: Two sides and an angle opposite one of them.
Case 4: Two angles and a side opposite one of them.
Case 5: Three sides are given.
Case 6: Three angles are given.
NAPIERS ANALOGIES:
1
A B tan 1 a b
2
2
1.

1
1
sin A B
tan c
2
2
1
1
sin a b tan A B
2
2
3.

1
1
sin a b
cot C
2
2
sin

TERRESTRIAL SPHERE:

1
A B tan 1 a b
2
2
2.

1
1
cos A B
tan c
2
2
1
1
cos a b tan A B
2
2
4.

1
1
cos a b
cot C
2
2
cos

Area of sphere

where:

r2E
180

E = spherical excess in degrees


E = ( A+B+C) - 180

Problems:

1. Two places A and B on the earth have the follow latitudes and
longitudes:A(40N, 18E) and B (0N, 58E). Find the angle of departure from
A to B of the great circle route.
Given:

Required:

NAB

Solution:

By the given latitudes and longitudes, AN = 50, BN = 90 and


18 = 40.
Using the cosine formula,

ANB = 58

Then, by the sine formula:

2.
Solution:

3.

Solution:

4. Find side a given that b = 7.5m., c = 5.9m., A = 49

Solution:
Cos(a) = [Cos(b) . Cos(c)] +[Sin(b) . Sin(c) .Cos(A)]

Substituting the values given above, we have:


cos a=[cos (7.5)cos (5.9)]+[sin(7.5) . sin(5.9). cos (49 o)]

= [0.991 x 0.995] + [0.13 x 0.10 x 0.66]


= 0.986 + 0.009
a=cos1 0.995

a = 5.73m.

5.

Solution: