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The resolution of the Gibbs phenomenon
for spherical harmonics

Author: Anne Gelb
Journal: Math. Comp. 66 (1997), 699-717
MSC (1991): Primary 42A10, 41A10, 41A25
MathSciNet review: 1401940
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Abstract: Spherical harmonics have been important tools for solving geophysical and astrophysical problems. Methods have been developed to effectively implement spherical harmonic expansion approximations. However, the Gibbs phenomenon was already observed by Weyl for spherical harmonic expansion approximations to functions with discontinuities, causing undesirable oscillations over the entire sphere.

Recently, methods for removing the Gibbs phenomenon for one-dimensional discontinuous functions have been successfully developed by Gottlieb and Shu. They proved that the knowledge of the first $N$ expansion coefficients (either Fourier or Gegenbauer) of a piecewise analytic function $f(x)$ is enough to recover an exponentially convergent approximation to the point values of $f(x)$ in any subinterval in which the function is analytic.

Here we take a similar approach, proving that knowledge of the first $N$ spherical harmonic coefficients yield an exponentially convergent approximation to a spherical piecewise smooth function $f(\theta ,\phi )$ in any subinterval $[\theta _1,\theta _2], \break \phi \in [0,2\pi ]$, where the function is analytic. Thus we entirely overcome the Gibbs phenomenon.

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Additional Information

Anne Gelb
Affiliation: Division of Applied Mathematics, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912

Keywords: Gibbs phenomenon, Gegenbauer polynomials, spherical harmonics, exponential accuracy
Received by editor(s): October 26, 1995
Received by editor(s) in revised form: May 1, 1996
Additional Notes: This work was supported in part by AFOSR grant F49620-95-1-0074, NSF grant DMS 95008 14, and DARPA/ONR AASERT grant N00014-93-1-0985.
Article copyright: © Copyright 1997 American Mathematical Society