# polar coordinate system

A system of coordinates in which the location of a point is determined by its distance from a fixed point at the center of the coordinate space (called the pole) and by the measurement of the angle formed by a fixed line (the polar axis, corresponding to the x-axis in Cartesian coordinates) and a line from the pole through the given point. The polar coordinates of a point are given as (r, θ), where r is the distance of the point from the pole, and θ is the measure of the angle. Compare Cartesian coordinate system.

## Nearby words

polar bond, polar cap, polar cataract, polar circle, polar coordinate, polar coordinate system, polar coordinates, polar distance, polar equation, polar front, polar lights

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.