Coordinate Singularity
Get Coordinate Singularity essential facts below. View Videos or join the Coordinate Singularity discussion. Add Coordinate Singularity to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Coordinate Singularity

A coordinate singularity occurs when an apparent singularity or discontinuity occurs in one coordinate frame that can be removed by choosing a different frame.

An example is the apparent (longitudinal) singularity at the 90 degree latitude in spherical coordinates. An object moving due north (for example, along the line 0 degrees longitude) on the surface of a sphere will suddenly experience an instantaneous change in longitude at the pole (i.e., jumping from longitude 0 to longitude 180 degrees). In fact, longitude is not uniquely defined at the poles. This discontinuity, however, is only apparent; it is an artifact of the coordinate system chosen, which is singular at the poles. A different coordinate system would eliminate the apparent discontinuity, e.g. by replacing the latitude/longitude representation with an n-vector representation.

Stephen Hawking aptly summed this up, when once asking the question, "What lies north of the North Pole?".[1]

## References

1. ^ What is Cosmology?, wiseGEEK.com. Accessed 15 Feb 2013. In a related discussion, he mentions this again : The Beginning of Time - Stephen Hawking; accessed 15 Feb 2013.