I recently came across a question that went something like this:
In a triangle with vertices (0,0), (6,0), (2,4) an ellipse is inscribed such that it has the largest area. Now it is dilated, that is zoomed in, or enlarged while keeping it's center as well as orientation fixed, so that the new ellipse trisects the sides of the triangle. So what is the ratio of the lengths of the major axes of the new ellipse to the previous one?
And here is what I could gather from what I knew:
The inscribed ellipse or 'inellipse' of the largest area that can be inscribed in a triangle is known as the Steiner inellipse
and many of it's properties are known. The properties that might help us here are that it is tangent to the triangle sides at it's midpoints, the lengths of it's axes can be determined by the formula (g = semi major axis length, h = semi minor axis length)
and the centroid of the triangle is it's center.
So now we can find the two foci of the ellipse by the concept that the angle bisector of the angle formed by the normal and the tangent to the ellipse at point passes through the focus.
So we simply find the angle bisectors at the 3 points of tangency, because we know the equations of the tangent's and normal there, and then find the intersection points of these 3 angle bisectors.
They will thus determine 2 points which are the foci of the inellipse. So the line joining them must be the major axis of the ellipse.
Now when we extend the ellipse to make it trisect the 3 sides of the triangle it passes through 6 known points, and we know of a way to find the equation of a unique ellipse given 5 points of the ellipse. From here we can find out the equation of the new ellipse, and it's major axis will be the same line as the major axis of the previous ellipse because we have only dilated it, keeping orientation fixed.
But we already know the equation of the major axis of the previous ellipse. So we solve the equation of the second ellipse and the equation of the major axis to get the coordinates of the vertices of the ellipse. Thus we know the length of the major axis of the new ellipse as well.
Now we have to find the ratio of these 2 lengths.
However this is only what I have thought of doing, and I know that it is perfectly okay and will work, but could someone please tell me a better approach of trying this problem. Because although I know how to do it, implementing it manually would be no mean task, and certainly not doable in any examination hall. So a better and shorter method is highly solicited from you all, probably using any minute observation that may be useful and that I am missing.
Thanks in advance for the help!