Abstract Chromatophore membranes from Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides were oriented by drying suspensions on the surfaces of glass slides. Polarized spectra of light-induced absorption changes were obtained between 500 and 1000 nm. As observed earlier, these spectra showed negative bands, reflecting photooxidation of the bacteriochlorophyll ‘special pair’ in the reaction centers, centered near 870, 810, 630 and 600 nm. These bands have been designated BY 1, BY 2, BX 1 and BX 2, respectively, corresponding to two Q y transitions and two Q x transitions of the dimeric special pair. We found the BY 1 and BX 1 transition moments to be parallel (within 20°) to the plane of the membrane, whereas the BX 2 moment makes an angle of 55–63° with the plane. Using the photoselection technique we found that the angle between the BY 1 and BX 1 transition moments is 30°, while that between BY 1 and BX 2 is 75°. The BX 1 and BX 2 moments were found to be orthogonal, consistent with the prediction of molecular exciton theory for a dimer. By combining these data, we have calculated the orientations of the transition moments of the bacteriochlorophyll dimer in spherical polar coordinates, with the pole of the coordinate system normal to the plane of the membrane. The orientations of the Q y and Q x transition moments of the two bacteriopheophytin molecules in the reaction center were also computed in this coordinate system by transforming the data reported by Clayton, C.N., Rafferty, R.K. and Vermeglio, A. ((1979) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 545, 58–68). We have derived the transformation equations for two polar coordinate systems: in one, the pole is an axis of symmetry as defined by the orientations of purified reaction centers in stretched gelatin films (Rafferty, C.N. and Clayton, R.K. (1979) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 545, 106–121). In the other, the pole is normal to the plane of the chromatophore membrane. These two polar axes are approximately orthogonal.