# NavList:

## A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

**Re: Spherical Trig (fwd)**

**From:**Alexandre Eremenko

**Date:**2005 Apr 6, 12:55 -0500

Bill, > Focusing on the words "is > between" > does that literally mean the lower limit can approach > 180d and the upper > limit approach 540d, or can the sums actual equal > either 180d or 540d? It depends of what you exactly mean by a "triangle". Whether you admit triangles of zero area as genuine triangles or not, for example. (The excess over 180 is essentially the area. Up to a factor which depends on your choice of units for the area). Speaking of the maximum of 540, this statement (that 540 is the maximum) even stronger depends on what you mean by a "triangle". Usually, (in particular in CelNav) they only consider so-called CONVEX triangles, whose all angles are at most 180 each. For such a triangle, of course, the sum of the angles cannot be more than 3 times 180=540. Whether 540 can be reached, again depends on your definition: whether you agree to consider a hemisphere as a legitimate triangle or not (see my previous message). Mathematicians consider triangles which can be bigger than a hemisphere. And angles which are bigger than 180 and even bigger than 360:-) By the way, surprisingly, the complete answer to the question, what can the angles of a spherical triangle be, was found only very recently, and it is due to your Obedinet Servant:-) "Metrics of positive curvature with conic singularities on the sphere", Proc. Amer. Math. Soc., 132 (2004), 11, 3349--3355. But this is way out of the scope of this list:-) A