Unformatted text preview: ellipse. In fact, the foci are both distance $c$ from the center of the ellipse where $c$ is given by $c = \sqrt{a^2  b^2}$. As shown in , each foci is placed such that semiminor axis (of length $b$), part of the semimajor axis (of length $c$) form a rightangled triangle of hypotenuse length $a$, the semimajor axis. The eccentricity of an ellipse, can then be defined as: \begin{equation} \epsilon = \sqrt{1  \frac{b^2}{a^2}} \end{equation} For a circle (which is a special case of an ellipse), $a=b$ and thus $\epsilon = 0$. The eccentricity is a measure of how "elongated," or stretched out an ellipse is....
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 Fall '10
 DavidJudd
 Physics, Semiminor axis, Semimajor axis, eccentricity

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