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# How would one best describe an ellipse?

Question #62330. Asked by minuscule_. (Feb 06 06 8:32 PM)

smeogalla

a regular oval resulting when a cone is cut obliquely by a plane. from the greek elleipsis- deficit

 Feb 06 06, 11:03 PM
romeomikegolf

a closed plane curve resulting from the intersection of a circular cone and a plane cutting completely through it; "the sums of the distances from the foci to any point on an ellipse is constant" [syn: oval]

Or, in plain english, the shape of a rugby ball.

 Feb 06 06, 11:06 PM
gmackematix

Well, a cross-section of a rugby ball.
It can best be described with two pins and a loop of string.
Or a pair of compasses and a piece of paper wrapped around a cylinder.
Or with a computer and the formula y = b^2.sq rt (1 - x/(a^2)) where a and b are the major and minor axes of the ellipse.

 Feb 07 06, 1:30 AM
gmackematix

Even more simple methods include using an elliptical stencil, clicking the circles button in a MS Office program and dragging the mouse or finally, doing nothing and letting your planet describe an ellipse for you.

 Feb 07 06, 12:43 PM

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