Abstract view
On the Moduli Space of a Spherical Polygonal Linkage


Published:19990901
Printed: Sep 1999
Michael Kapovich
John J. Millson
Abstract
We give a ``wallcrossing'' formula for computing the topology of
the moduli space of a closed $n$gon linkage on $\mathbb{S}^2$.
We do this by determining the Morse theory of the function
$\rho_n$ on the moduli space of $n$gon linkages which is given by
the length of the last sidethe length of the last side is
allowed to vary, the first $(n  1)$ sidelengths are fixed. We
obtain a Morse function on the $(n  2)$torus with level sets
moduli spaces of $n$gon linkages. The critical points of $\rho_n$
are the linkages which are contained in a great circle. We give a
formula for the signature of the Hessian of $\rho_n$ at such a
linkage in terms of the number of backtracks and the winding
number. We use our formula to determine the moduli spaces of all
regular pentagonal spherical linkages.