*preprint*

**Inserted:** 5 jun 2024

**Last Updated:** 5 jun 2024

**Year:** 2024

**Abstract:**

A reformulation of the three circles theorem of Johnson with distance coordinates to the vertices of a triangle is explicitly represented in a polynomial system and solved by symbolic computation. A similar polynomial system in distance coordinates to the vertices of a tetrahedron $T \subset \mathbb{R}^3$ is introduced to represent the configurations of four spheres of radius $R^*$, which intersect in one point, each sphere containing three vertices of $T$ but not the fourth one. This problem is related to that of computing the largest value $r$ for which the set of vertices of $T$ is an $r$-body. For triangular pyramids we completely describe the set of geometric configurations with the required four balls of radius $R^*$. The solutions obtained by symbolic computation show that triangular pyramids are splitted into two different classes: in the first one $R^*$ is unique, in the second one three values $R^*$ there exist. The first class can be itself subdivided into two subclasses, one of which is related to the family of $r$-bodies.