Math Insight

Applet: Polar coordinates map of rectangle

The transformation from polar coordinates to Cartesian coordinates $(x,y)=\cvarf(r,\theta) = (r \cos\theta, r \sin \theta)$ can be viewed as a map from the polar coordinate $(r,\theta)$ plane (left panel) to the Cartesian coordinate $(x,y)$ plane (right panel). This transformation maps a rectangle $\dlr^*$ in the $(r,\theta)$ plane into a region $\dlr$ in the $(x,y)$ plane that is the part of an angular sector inside an annulus. You can change the regions $\dlr^*$ and $\dlr$ by dragging the purple or cyan points in either panel. To further visualize the action of the map $(x,y)=\cvarf(r,\theta)$, you can drag the labeled red and blue points anywhere inside the large rectangle $0 \le r \le 6$, $0 \le \theta <2\pi$ and corresponding disk $x^2+y^2 \le 6^2$.

Applet file: polar_coordinates_map_rectangle.ggb

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