In mathematics, spherical harmonics are the angular portion of a set of solutions to Laplace's equation. Represented in a system of spherical coordinates, Laplace's spherical harmonics are a specific set of spherical harmonics that forms an orthogonal system, first introduced by Pierre Simon de Laplace in 1782. Spherical harmonics are important in many theoretical and practical applications, particularly in the computation of atomic orbital electron configurations, representation of gravitational fields, geoids, and the magnetic fields of planetary bodies and stars, and characterization of the cosmic microwave background radiation. In 3D computer graphics, spherical harmonics play a special role in a wide variety of topics including indirect lighting (ambient occlusion, global illumination, precomputed radiance transfer, etc.) and modelling of 3D shapes.