In this chapter, we will investigate the two-dimensional figures that are formed when a right circular cone is intersected by a plane. We will begin by studying each of three figures created in this manner. We will develop defining equations for each figure and then learn how to use these equations to solve a variety of problems. Conic sections are formed when a plane intersects two right circular cones aligned tip to tip and extending infinitely far in opposite directions, which we also call a cone. The way in which we slice the cone will determine the type of conic section formed at the intersection. A circle is formed by slicing a cone with a plane perpendicular to the axis of symmetry of the cone. An ellipse is formed by slicing a single cone with a slanted plane not perpendicular to the axis of symmetry.
- 8.1: The Ellipse
- The key features of the ellipse are its center, vertices, co-vertices, foci, and lengths and positions of the major and minor axes. Just as with other equations, we can identify all of these features just by looking at the standard form of the equation. There are four variations of the standard form of the ellipse. These variations are categorized first by the location of the center (the origin or not the origin), and then by the position (horizontal or vertical). Each is presented here.
- 8.2: The Hyperbola
- In analytic geometry, a hyperbola is a conic section formed by intersecting a right circular cone with a plane at an angle such that both halves of the cone are intersected. This intersection produces two separate unbounded curves that are mirror images of each other.
Thumbnail: Conic sections can also be described by a set of points in the coordinate plane. This section focuses on the four variations of the standard form of the equation for the ellipse. An ellipse is the set of all points (x,y)(x,y) in a plane such that the sum of their distances from two fixed points is a constant. Each fixed point is called a focus(plural: foci).