1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Confusion about ellipses

  1. Nov 2, 2011 #1
    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?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 2, 2011 #2
    [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].
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Confusion about ellipses
Loading...