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Solid Angle


Excerpt from Field Guide to Illumination

The definition of intensity involves the concept of a solid angle. A solid angle is a 3D angular volume that is defined analogously to the definition of a plane angle in two dimensions.

A plane angle, θ, made up of the lines from two points meeting at a vertex, is defined by the arc length of a circle subtended by the lines and by the radius of that circle, as shown below. The dimensionless unit of plane angle is the radian, with 2π radians in a full circle.

A solid angle, ω, made up of all the lines from a closed curve meeting at a vertex, is defined by the surface area of a sphere subtended by the lines and by the radius of that sphere, as shown below. The dimensionless unit of solid angle is the steradian, with 4π steradians in a full sphere.

Citation:

A. V. Arecchi, T. Messadi, and R. J. Koshel, Field Guide to Illumination, SPIE Press, Bellingham, WA (2007).



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