# Integration challenge

For positive real $$a \leq \pi$$ and $$b \leq \pi$$

$$\int_{-a/2}^{a/2} \frac{\sin{(b/2)}}{\sqrt{1+\cos^2 (b/2)\tan^2 (\phi )}} \; d \phi = 2 \arcsin \left[ \sin (a/2) \sin (b/2) \right]$$

as can be verified numerically. Mathematica fails to compute this integral except under a condition which is only satisfied for $$a= \pi$$ and $$b = \pi$$. A version of Maple I tried also failed to yield a result.

Given the simplicity of the result, I would think there should be a neat way to prove this identity symbolically. Any ideas?

Next time please post plain Mathematica code.

Rubi gives the result, but in different form, which Mathematica can't simplify to the one you show, but numerically one can show it is the same. (or try to do it by hand)

<< Rubi
ClearAll[a, b, phi]
integrand = Sin[b/2]/Sqrt[1 + Cos[b/2]^2*Tan[phi]^2]
anti = Int[integrand, {phi, -a/2, a/2}]


$$2 \tan ^{-1}\left(\frac{\tan \left(\frac{a}{2}\right) \sin \left(\frac{b}{2}\right)}{\sqrt{\tan ^2\left(\frac{a}{2}\right) \cos ^2\left(\frac{b}{2}\right)+1}}\right)$$

Numerically showing it is the same

book = 2*ArcSin[Sin[a/2]*Sin[b/2]]
Manipulate[
N[(book - anti) /. {a -> a0, b -> b0}],
{{a0, 1, "a"}, -5, 5, .1},
{{b0, 1, "b"}, -5, 5, .1},
TrackedSymbols :> {a0, b0}
]


difference is zero.

• Thanks. Didn't know about Rubi. It looks useful.
– ulvi
Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 0:42

If you know the answer, it is easy to coerce Mathematica to get it. Follow the suggestion of @Nasser and simplify the result

<< Rubi
y = Int[Sin[b/2]/Sqrt[1 + Cos[b/2]^2 Tan[x]^2], {x, -a/2, a/2}]
FullSimplify[2 ArcSin[TrigExpand[Sin[y/2]]], Assumptions -> {a > 0, b > 0, a < Pi, b < Pi}]
(* 2 ArcSin[Sin[a/2] Sin[b/2]] *)


Expand the Tan to Sin/Cos in the integrand to get

Integrate[(Cos[phi]*Sin[b/2])/
Sqrt[Cos[phi]^2 + Cos[b/2]^2*Sin[phi]^2],
{phi, -(a/2), a/2}]
(* 2 ArcSin[Sin[a/2] Sin[b/2]] *)

• Interesting. I should have tried that substitution.
– ulvi
Commented Aug 12, 2021 at 1:36

Integrate[Sin[b/2]/Sqrt[1 + Cos[b/2]^2 Tan[phi]^2], {phi, -a/2, a/2}, Assumptions -> {a > 0, b > 0, a < Pi, b < Pi}] gives

Pi + 2 I ArcCsch[2/Sqrt[-3 + Cos[a] (-1 + Cos[b]) - Cos[b]]]

which appears correct numerically, but how does it simplify to the desired RHS?