Precalculus:Conic Sections

1.Lines: The inclination of a lineθ, is a positive angle (less thanπ) defined by:θ= arctan(m) = tan 1 (m) (where m = the slope of the line) Angle Between Two Lines:θ= tan 1 |
m1  m2 |. 1  m1 m2

Distance Between a Point and a Line: Given point ( x1 , y1 ) and line, Ax + By +C = 0 : d=
| Ax1  By 2  C | A2  B 2

.

2. Parabolas – Set of points equidistant from a fixed line (directrix) and a fixed point (focus).

Information about Parabolas
Standard Form of Equation Vertex Axis of Symmetry Focus Directrix Direction of Opening
y  a( x  h) 2  k ( x  h) 2  4c( y  k ) x  a( y  k ) 2  h ( y  k ) 2  4c( x  h)  

( h, k ) x=h
(h, k  1 ) 4c 1 4c

( h, k ) y=k
(h  1 , k) 4c 1 4c

yk

x h

Upward, if c > 0 Downward, if c < 0
1 c

Right, if c > 0
Left, if c < 0

Latus Rectum = REMEMBER, ρ

1 = distance between vertex and focus/directrix 4c

3. Ellipses – Set of points the sum of whose distances from two distinct points (foci) is constant.

Information about Ellipses
Standard Form of Equation Center Major Axis Minor Axis Foci
( x  h) 2 ( y  k ) 2  1 a2 b2 ( h, k ) Vertical – Length = 2b (h  c, k ) and (h  c, k ) ( x  h) 2 ( y  k ) 2  1 b2 a2 ( h, k ) Horizontal – Length = 2b (h, k  c) and (h, k  c)  

Horizontal – Length = 2a Vertical – Length = 2a

Eccentricity e =

c a

REMEMBER, c  a 2  b 2

4:Hyperbolas – Set of points the difference of whose distances from two distinct points (foci) is constant.

Information about Hyperbolas
Standard Form of Equation Center Transverse Axis Conjugate Axis Foci
( x  h) 2 ( y  k ) 2  1 a2 b2 ( h, k ) Vertical – Length = 2b (h  c, k ) and (h  c, k ) ( y  k ) 2 ( x  h) 2  1 a2 b2 ( h, k ) Horizontal – Length = 2b (h, k  c) and (h, k  c)  

Horizontal – Length = 2a Vertical – Length = 2a

b             Asymptotes:(Horizontal Transverse Axis ) ( y  k )   ( x  h ) a

(Vertical Transverse Axis) ( y  k )   ( x  h ) Eccentricity e =   REMEMBER, c  a  b 2
c a

b a

5:Identifying Conic Sections − ( Ax 2  Cy 2  Dx  Ey  F = 0) Circle – Both variables are squared, positive and have equal coefficients. (A= C) Parabola – Only one variable is squared. (A=0 or C =0, but not both ) Ellipse – Both variables are squared and positive, but have different coefficients. (AC > 0 and A≠C) Hyperbola – Both variables are squared; one coefficient is positive and the other is negative. (AC < 0 and A≠C) 6:Rotation of Conics The general equation Ax 2  Bxy  Cy 2  Dx  Ey  F can be rewritten as
A( x ) 2  C ( y ) 2  D x   E y   F   0   By rotating the coordinate axis through the angleθ, where

cot 2θ=

AC B   or  tan 2θ=   orθ= B AC

tan 1 (

B ) AC 2

The coefficients of the new equation are obtained by making the substitutions: x  x  cosθ− y  sinθ and y  x  sinθ− y  cosθ

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