Confusion about ellipses

  • Thread starter StopWatch
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  • #1
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This is a really dumb question, but could someone quickly explain why it is that if b > a in the equation of an ellipse then y is the major axis. Just intuitively I want to think that y^2/5 as opposed to y^2/3 is going to be smaller for a given value of y since each value is being limited by the dividend. The opposite is true. Can someone explain this simply?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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[itex]\frac{x^2}{a^2}+\frac{y^2}{b^2}=1[/itex]

The distance [itex]r[/itex] of every point of the ellipses from the centre of the frame of reference is always between [itex]min(a,b)\leq r\leq max(a,b)[/itex].
By definition, the major axis is defined as [itex]max(a,b)[/itex] while the minor axis is [itex]min(a,b)[/itex].
 

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