Questions on conic sections and their properties; the curves formed by the intersection of a plane and a cone. Circles, ellipses, hyperbolas, and parabolas are examples of conic sections.

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70
votes
2answers
830 views

Modelling the “Moving Sofa”

I believe that many of you know about the moving sofa problem; if not you can find the description of the problem here. In this question I am going to rotate the L shaped hall instead of moving a ...
63
votes
9answers
1k views

Why does $\cos(x) + \cos(y) - \cos(x + y) = 0$ look like an ellipse?

The solution set of $\cos(x) + \cos(y) - \cos(x + y) = 0$ looks like an ellipse. Is it actually an ellipse, and if so, is there a way of writing down its equation (without any trig functions)? What ...
48
votes
5answers
4k views

Do “Parabolic Trigonometric Functions” exist?

The parametric equation $$\begin{align*} x(t) &= \cos t\\ y(t) &= \sin t \end{align*}$$ traces the unit circle centered at the origin ($x^2+y^2=1$). Similarly, $$\begin{align*} x(t) &...
36
votes
4answers
4k views

Parabola is an ellipse, but with one focal point at infinity

While I was reading about conic sections, I came across the following statement: A parabola is an ellipse, but with one focal point at infinity. But it is not clear to me. Can someone explain it ...
34
votes
3answers
2k views

Fascinating Lampshade Geometry

Today, I encountered a rather fascinating problem in a waiting room: Notice how the light is being cast on the wall? There is a curve that defines the boundary between light and shadow. In my ...
24
votes
4answers
27k views

Check if a point is within an ellipse

I have an ellipse centered at $(h,k)$, with semi-major axis $r_x$, semi-minor axis $r_y$, both aligned with the Cartesian plane. How do I determine if a point $(x,y)$ is within the area bounded by ...
24
votes
1answer
637 views

Parabolas in sequences of digits from the Fibonacci sequence

In preperation for an exam, I was studying Haskell. Therefore I was solving an old assignment where you had to define the fibonacci series. After solving the task (see 1] for source code) and ...
23
votes
9answers
8k views

Why is an ellipse, hyperbola, and circle not a function?

I am aware of the vertical line test. If you place a vertical line over a shape, and if it crosses more than once, it fails the vertical line test and is no longer a function. But I don't understand ...
21
votes
4answers
6k views

The locus of two perpendicular tangents to a given ellipse

For a given ellipse, find the locus of all points P for which the two tangents are perpendicular. I have a trigonometric proof that the locus is a circle, but I'd like a pure (synthetic) geometry ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Intersection of two parabolae

Problem: Consider two parabolae such that their axes of symmetry form a right angle. Prove that all four points of intersection lie on a common circle (it is an assumption that there exist such four ...
19
votes
1answer
834 views

How many points of intersection between an ellipse and an $L_p$-circle?

Consider an ellipse $E$ in the plane, centered at the origin. (In my case, the minor axis points into the nonnegative quadrant.) Let S be an "$L_p$-circle": $S = \{(x,y) : |x|^p + |y|^p = 1\}$, ...
18
votes
4answers
680 views

A geometric reason why the square of the focal length of a hyperbola is equal to the sum of the squares of the axes.

This may be a phenomenally stupid question, so apologies in advance. But when I teach conics, I show why $c^2=a^2-b^2$ for ellipses geometrically, just by drawing the obvious isosceles triangle from ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the simplest ellipse that goes through exactly 13 lattice points?

The ellipse $-30 x + 3 x^2 - 10 y - 3 x y + 4 y^2$ goes through exactly 11 lattice points. Another such ellipse is $4 - 30 x + 2 x^2 - 5 y - x y + 3 y^2$. What is the simplest ellipse that goes ...
16
votes
8answers
19k views

What is the real life use of hyperbola? [closed]

The point of this question is to compile a list of applications of hyperbola because a lot of people are unknown to it and asks it frequently.
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Aunt and Uncle's fuel oil tank dip stick problem

This problem first came to me in high school, and a couple times since, and I even assigned it for extra credit in one of my calculus classes after I became a teacher. So I know the solution. What I ...
14
votes
4answers
725 views

Is $x^2-y^2=1$ Merely $\frac 1x$ Rotated -$45^\circ$?

Comparing their graphs and definitions of hyperbolic angles seems to suggest so aside from the $\sqrt{2}$ factor: and:
13
votes
13answers
20k views

Derivation of the formula for the vertex of a parabola

I'm taking a course on Basic Conic Sections, and one of the ones we are discussing is of a parabola of the form $$y = a x^2 + b x + c$$ My teacher gave me the formula: $$x = -\frac{b}{2a}$$ as the ...
13
votes
3answers
27k views

How to determine the arc length of ellipse?

I want to determine the arc length of a ellipse. So what data should I know ? And what law should I use ? For example I have this ellipse on picture below: How can I determine the $d$ length of ...
13
votes
8answers
424 views

How do I transpose an ellipse function to stretch the ellipse into curved space?

I'm working on an engineering project, using CAD software. I can write simple parametric functions to draw an ellipse, with $\theta$ ranging from $0$ to $2\pi$ radians:$$x=3.75\cos\theta$$$$y=1.25\...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

The Ellipse Problem - finding an ellipse inside a triangle

The problem statement is as follows: A triangle is dissected into six smaller triangles by its angle bisectors. Prove that the intersections of the angle bisectors of each of these smaller triangles ...
13
votes
1answer
6k views

Calculating Distance of a Point from an Ellipse Border

I'm thinking about using oriented ellipses to represent curves (dents/bumps etc.) in my physics engine, and have a few questions about working with them: What methods are there to finding the ...
13
votes
1answer
217 views

An interesting property between a hyperbola & parabola

It is well known that when two tangents to a parabola are perpendicular to each other, they intersect on the directrix. In other words, the intersection point of the two tangents make a straight line, ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

Are there parabolic and elliptical functions analogous to the circular and hyperbolic functions sin(h),cos(h), and tan(h)?

Are there parabolic and elliptical functions analogous to the circular and hyperbolic functions sin(h),cos(h), and tan(h)? Also, in matters of conic sections, are there other properties such that it ...
12
votes
5answers
15k views

Calculating a Point that lies on an Ellipse given an Angle

I need to find a point (A on this diagram) given the center point of the ellipse as well as an angle. I've been melting my brain all day (as well as searching through questions here) testing out ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

What Does Homogenisation Of An Equation Actually Mean?

For example, if we have a conic; ax2 + 2hxy + by2 + 2gx + 2fy + c = 0 What does homogenising this equation with another line (say ax + by + c = 0 ) actually mean? As in, what are the graphical ...
11
votes
1answer
662 views

Comprehensive compilation of conic section formulae

My frustration started after hours of searching failed to turn up a formula for the vertex of a parabola in the general form $$Ax^2+Bxy+Cy^2+Dx+Ey+F=0$$ As is already well known, the discriminant $\...
11
votes
2answers
532 views

2 circles and one ellipse and minimum area problem.

2 circles ($r_1 \neq r_2$) and one ellipse touch each other as shown in Figure-1. What is the minimum area (A) among them ? Please consider $a,b,r_1,r_2$ given values(constants). Let's imagine we ...
11
votes
2answers
726 views

Definition of an ellipsoid based on its focal points

I have a question concerning the formulation of an (3D) ellipsoid. The most common definition for an ellipsoid seems to be: $E = \{ x=\left( x_1, \dots x_n \right)^T \in R^n: \sum_{i=1}^n \left( \...
10
votes
4answers
314 views

Finding Maximum Area of a Rectangle in an Ellipse [duplicate]

Question: A rectangle and an ellipse are both centred at $(0,0)$. The vertices of the rectangle are concurrent with the ellipse as shown Prove that the maximum possible area of the ...
10
votes
3answers
392 views

Need to find the ellipse of maximum area inscribed in a semicircle.

An ellipse inscribed in a fixed semi circle touches the semi-circular arc at two distinct points and also touches the bounding diameter. Its major axis is parallel to the bounding diameter. ...
10
votes
6answers
734 views

538.com's Puzzle of the Overflowing Martini Glass - How to compute the minor and major axis of an elliptical cross-section of a cone

FiveThirtyEight.com Riddler Puzzle / May 13 The puzzle goes like this; "It’s Friday. You’ve kicked your feet up and have drunk enough of your martini that, when the conical glass (🍸) is upright, the ...
10
votes
2answers
128 views

Prove that $|PF_{1}|+|PF_{2}|$ is Constant in an Elipse

Given an elipse with two focus $F_{1}$ an $F_{2}$, and $A$ is an arbitrary point at the elipse. Stright line $AF_{1}$ has another intersection point $B$ with the elipse, and $AF_{2}$ has another ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Generalization of ellipse equation to higher dimensional surfaces

This question was motivated by Definition of an ellipsoid based on its focal points . I'd like to avoid terms like ellipsoid, so I'll use terms like one-dimensional ellipse (a normal ellipse in the ...
9
votes
6answers
5k views

How to find an ellipse , given 2 passing points and the tangents at them?

Please answer to a question , how to find an ellipse which passes the 2 given points and has the given tangents at them. And one related question is that the given condition can decide just one ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Intersection of conics using matrix representation

I came across a very interesting section of a wikipedia article on conics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conic_section#Intersecting_two_conics I am trying to work out a couple of examples to add to ...
9
votes
5answers
394 views

Parabolas through three points

We can draw an infinite number of parabolas that pass through three given points $A$, $B$, $C$ (in that order). For each such parabola, we take the tangent lines at $A$ and $C$, and intersect them to ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

How to geometrically prove the focal property of ellipse?

How to prove geometrically that if we have a tangent of ellipse with focus F and F' in point P, that tangent is bisector of the angle between a line joining focus F to point P and the line F'P outside ...
9
votes
2answers
419 views

Finding upper segments of intersecting parabolas

I have multiple parabolas ($y = ax^2 + bx + c$) which may intersect with each other (or some of them may not intersect). I am trying to find upper segments of these parabolas, e.g. bold part in the ...
9
votes
1answer
273 views

Right triangle on an ellipse, find the area

Beginning note: Please wait until the animations load. The loading might take some time depending on your internet connection. Secondly, the title and the content of the question might not be well ...
9
votes
1answer
701 views

Determine if a conic is degenerate with the determinant.

There is a natural bijection between conics (written as homogeneous quadratic) and 3x3 matrices: $$C=aX^2+2bXY+cY^2+2dXZ+2eYZ+fZ^2\Leftrightarrow \left(\begin{array}{ccc} a&b&d\\ b&c&...
9
votes
3answers
737 views

Equal angles formed by the tangent lines to an ellipse and the lines through the foci.

Given an ellipse with foci $F_1, F_2$ and a point $P$. Let $T_1, T_2$ the points of tangency on the ellipse determined by the tangent lines through $P$. Show that $\widehat {T_1 P F_1} = \widehat {T_2 ...
8
votes
3answers
669 views

If two parabolas don't intersect, is there a line that doesn't intersect either of them?

Two parabolas in a plane are given, such that they don't intersect. Is it true that there is a line in plane such that doesn't intersect any of them?
8
votes
4answers
1k views

How to find the center of an ellipse?

I have the following data:- I have two points ($P_1$, $P_2$) that lie somewhere on the ellipse's circumference. I know the angle ($\alpha$) that the major-axis subtends on x-axis. I have both the ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Minimal Ellipse Circumscribing A Right Triangle

Find the equation of the ellipse circumscribing a right triangle whose lengths of it's sides are $3,4,5$ and such that its area is the minimum possible one. You may chose the origin and orientation ...
8
votes
3answers
18k views

Finding the angle of rotation of an ellipse from its general equation and the other way around

The general equation for an ellipse is $Ax^2+Bxy+Cy^2+D=0$. How do I find the angle of rotation, the dimensions, and the coordinates of the center of the ellipse from the general equation and vice ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

an important property of an ellipse

Good morning everybody. I would like to know the proof of the following observation on the ellipse. A circle is drawn with the right latus rectum as diameter. Another circle is drawn with its ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Formula for curve parallel to a parabola

I have a simple parabola in the form $y = a + bx^2$. I would like to find the formula for a curve which is parallel to this curve by distance $c$. By parallel I mean that there is an equal distance ...
7
votes
3answers
133 views

Do 4 points in ${\mathbb R}^2$ in convex position define a unique elliplse that passes through those 4 points?

So it takes 3 distinct points in the plane, that are not collinear, to define a unique circle that passes through the points. So what about ellipses? Arguing naively in terms of degrees of freedom ...
7
votes
2answers
13k views

How to get the radius of an ellipse at a specific angle by knowing its semi-major and semi-minor axes?

How to get the radius of an ellipse at a specific angle by knowing its semi-major and semi-minor axes? Please take a look at this picture :
7
votes
1answer
38k views

Ellipse in polar coordinates

I think Wikipedia's polar coordinate elliptical equation isn't correct. Here is my explanation: Imagine constants $a$ and $b$ in this format - Where $2a$ is the total height of the ellipse and $2b$ ...