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FM Great Circles

2.5 Distance Between Points on a Sphere

Note: if you cannot remember how to utilise trigonometry in a circle, revise notes for 2.4 Applications of Trigonometry and Pythagoras Theorem.

Note: if you cannot remember how to calculate arc length, revise notes for 2.1 Circles and Arcs.

Great Circles

  • A circle drawn on the surface of a sphere whose radius is equal to that of the sphere is known as a great circle.
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Distance Between Points on a Great Circle

  • For two points on a great circle, the path corresponding to the shortest distance between those two points is an arc. We can use our understanding of arc length (from notes 2.1 Circles and Arcs) to solve for the shortest distance.
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