Geometric figure in which the sum of the distances of each point P from two fixed points F1 and F2, called the foci, is constant.

  • Consider an ellipse with foci F1 and F2 and points P1 and P2 :
    d(P\(_{1}\), F\(_{1}\)) + d(P\(_{1}\), F\(_{2}\)) = d(P\(_{2}\), F\(_{1}\)) + d(P\(_{2}\), F\(_{2}\))


  • Segments a and b in the illustration are the semi-minor axis (conjugate axis) and the semi-major axis (transverse axis) of the ellipse. The major axis (transverse axis) is the diameter of the ellipse.
  • An ellipse can also be formed by the intersection of a cone of revolution with a plane that meets all the generating lines and that does not pass through the apex.


The area A of an ellipse of semi-axes a and b is : A = πab.

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