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- 34the Ellipse

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3: ELLIPSES

Lesson 1.3.1: Definition

and Equation of an Ellipse

DEFINITION: An ellipse is a closed

figure in a plane that closely

resembles an oval. It is a set of all

coplanar points such that the sum

of its distances from two fixed

points is constant. The fixed points

are called the foci of the ellipse.

PARTS OF AN ELLIPSE:

(1) An ellipse has two axes of

symmetry. The longer axis is called

the major axis, and the shorter axis

is called the minor axis.

(2) The major axis contains the foci.

Consequently, the foci are inside

the ellipse.

(3) The intersection of the two axes

is called the center of the ellipse.

(4) The ellipse intersects the major

axis in two points called the

vertices of the ellipse.

(5) Segments passing through the

foci of the ellipse that is

perpendicular to the major axis are

called the two latus rectum.

(6) Lines outside the ellipse that is

parallel to the minor axis and has

the same distance from the vertices

as the foci are the two directrices.

F1(-3,0) and F2(3,0), as shown in

Figure 1.21. What is the sum of the

distances of A(4, 2.4) from F1 and

from F2? How about the sum of the

distances from point B? and from

point C(0,-4) from F1 and from F2?

STANDARD EQUATION OF ELLIPSE:

Horizontal Ellipse

(1) Center: origin (0,0)

(2) Major axis: y = 0 or the x-axis

• The length is 2a.

• Endpoints - (±a,0)

(3) Minor axis: x = 0 or the y-axis

• The length is 2b.

• Endpoints: (0±b)

(4) Foci: F1(-c,0) & F2(c,0)

• Each focus is c units away from

the center.

• For any point on the ellipse, the

sum of its distances is 2a.

(5) Vertices: V1(-a,0) & V2(a,0)

• The vertices are points on the

ellipse, collinear with the center

and foci.

• If y = 0, then x = ±a. Each vertex is

a units away from the center.

• The segments V1V2 is called the

major axis.

(6) Covertices: W1(0,-b) & W2(0,b)

• If x = 0, then y = ±b. Each covertex

is b units away from the center.

• The segments W1W2 is called the

minor axis.

(7) Latus rectum: x = ±c

𝟐𝒃𝟐

• Length is

𝒂

𝒃𝟐 𝒃𝟐

• Endpoints: (-c,± ) & (c,± )

𝒂 𝒂

𝒂𝟐

(8) Directrix: x=±

𝒄

𝒙𝟐 𝒚𝟐

(9) Equation: + = 𝟏 where

𝒂𝟐 𝒃𝟐

𝒄 = √𝒂𝟐 − 𝒃𝟐 and 𝒂 > 𝒃

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE 1.3.1:

Give the coordinates of the foci,

vertices, and the covertices of the

𝒙𝟐 𝒚𝟐

ellipse with equation: + = 𝟏

𝟐𝟓 𝟗

Sketch the graph, and include these

points.

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE 1.3.2:

Find the standard equation of the

ellipse whose foci are F1(-3,0) and

F2(3,0), such that any point on it, the

sum of its distances from the foci is 10.

See Figure 1.21.

PROBLEM SET NO. 7:

(1) Give the coordinates of the foci,

vertices, and the covertices of the

𝒙𝟐 𝒚𝟐

ellipse with equation: + =𝟏

𝟏𝟔𝟗 𝟐𝟓

Sketch the graph, and include these

points.

(2) Find the standard equation of the

ellipse whose foci are F1(-8,0) and

F2(8,0), such that any point on it, the

sum of its distances from the foci is 20.

Lesson 1.3.2: More

Properties of Ellipses

Horizontal Ellipse

𝒙𝟐 𝒚𝟐

+ =𝟏

𝒂𝟐 𝒃𝟐

Vertical Ellipse

𝒙𝟐 𝒚𝟐

+ =𝟏

𝒃𝟐 𝒂𝟐

KEYNOTES:

(1) 𝒄 = √𝒂𝟐 − 𝒃𝟐 and 𝒂 > 𝒃

(2) In the standard equation, if x-

part has a bigger denominator, the

ellipse is horizontal.

(3) If the y-part has the biggest

denominator, the ellipse is vertical.

SUMMARY C(0,0):

Center (0,0) Ellipse with foci Ellipse with foci

on the x-axis on the y-axis

Type Horizontal Vertical

𝒙𝟐 𝒚𝟐 𝒙𝟐 𝒚𝟐

Equation + 𝟐=𝟏 + 𝟐=𝟏

𝒂𝟐 𝒃 𝒃 𝟐 𝒂

Vertices (±a, 0) (0, ±a)

Foci (±c, 0) (0, ±c)

Covertices (0,±b) (±b,0)

Major axis

y = 0 or on the x = 0 or on the

x-axis y-axis

Minor axis

x = 0 or on the y = 0 or on the

y-axis x-axis

𝒂𝟐 𝒂𝟐

Directrices x=± y=±

𝒄 𝒄

Latus Rectum x = ±c y = ±c

𝒃𝟐 𝒃𝟐 𝒃𝟐 𝒃𝟐

Endpoints: (-c,± ) & (c,± ) (± ,-c ) & (± ,c)

𝒂 𝒂 𝒂 𝒂

DISTANCES:

major axis 2a

minor axis 2b

c c = √𝒂𝟐 − 𝒃𝟐

𝟐𝒃𝟐

latus rectum LR =

𝒂

√𝒂𝟐 −𝒃𝟐

Eccentricity e=

𝒂

Find the coordinates of the foci

and vertices, the endpoints of the

major axis, minor axis, and the

latus rectum for each ellipse

whose center is at (0,0). Draw the

ellipse, its foci, and directrices.

𝒙𝟐 𝒚𝟐

(1) + =𝟏

𝟐𝟓 𝟗

𝟐 𝟐

(2) 𝟗𝒙 + 𝟏𝟔𝒚 − 𝟏𝟒𝟒 = 𝟎

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE 1.3.4:

Write the equation of the ellipse

with center at the origin that

satisfies the given conditions.

Draw the ellipse, its foci, and

directrices.

(1) The foci have coordinates

(±4,0) and a vertex at (5,0).

(2) The length of the latus rectum

𝟖

is and the vertices have

𝟓

coordinates (0,-5) and (5,0).

Given: The endpoints of the major

axis are (0,-4) and (0,4), and the

endpoints of the minor axis is

(-1,0) and (1,0). Write the equation

of the ellipse with center at the

origin that satisfies the given

conditions. Draw the ellipse, its

foci, and directrices.

Horizontal

C(h,k)

(𝒙−𝒉)𝟐 (𝒚−𝒌)𝟐

+ =𝟏

𝒂𝟐 𝒃𝟐

Vertical

C(h,k)

(𝒙−𝒉)𝟐 (𝒚−𝒌)𝟐

+ =𝟏

𝒃𝟐 𝒂𝟐

SUMMARY C(h,k):

Ellipse with foci Ellipse with foci

Center (h,k) on a line parallel on a line parallel

to the x-axis to the y-axis

Type Horizontal Vertical

(𝒙 − 𝒉)𝟐 (𝒚 − 𝒌)𝟐 (𝒙 − 𝒉)𝟐 (𝒚 − 𝒌)𝟐

Equation + =𝟏 + =𝟏

𝒂𝟐 𝒃𝟐 𝒃𝟐 𝒂𝟐

Vertices ( h±a, k ) ( h, k±a )

Foci ( h±c, k ) ( h, k±c )

Covertices ( h, k±b ) ( h±b, k )

Major axis y=k x=h

Minor axis x=h y=k

Give the coordinates of the center,

foci, vertices, and covertices of the

ellipse with the given equation.

Sketch the graph, and include

these points.

(𝒙+𝟑)𝟐 (𝒚−𝟓)𝟐

(1) + =𝟏

𝟐𝟒 𝟒𝟗

(2) 𝟗𝒙𝟐 + 𝟏𝟔𝒚𝟐 − 𝟏𝟐𝟔𝒙 + 𝟔𝟒𝒚 = 𝟕𝟏

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE 1.3.6:

The foci of an ellipse are (-3,-6)

and (-3,2). For any point on the

ellipse, the sum of its distances

from foci is 4. Find the standard

equation of the elipse.

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE 1.3.7:

An ellipse has vertices (𝟐 − √𝟔𝟏, −𝟓)

and (𝟐 + √𝟔𝟏, −𝟓), and its minor

axis is 12 units long. Find the

standard equation and its foci.

(1) Give the coordinates of the

center, foci, vertices, and covertices

of the ellipse with the equation

𝟒𝟏𝒙𝟐 + 𝟏𝟔𝒚𝟐 + 𝟐𝟒𝟔𝒙 − 𝟏𝟗𝟐𝒚 +

𝟐𝟖𝟗 = 𝟎. Sketch the graph, and

include these points.

(2) An ellipse has vertices (-10,-4)

and (6,-4), and its covertices (-2,-9)

and (-2,1). Find the standard

equation and its foci.

Lesson 1.3.3: Situational

Problems Involving Ellipses

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE 1.3.8:

A tunnel has the shape of a

semiellipse that is 15 feet high at

the center, and 36 feet across at

the base. At most how high should

a passing truck be, if it is 12 feet

wide, for it to be able to fit

through the tunnel? Round off

your answer to 2 decimal places.

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE 1.3.9:

The orbit of a planet has the shape

of an ellipse, and on one of the

foci is the star around which it

revolves. The planet is closest to

the star when it is at one vertex. It

is farthest from the star when it is

at the other vertex. Suppose the

closest and the farthest distances

of the planet from this star, are

420 million kilometers and 580

million kilometers, respectively.

Find the equation of the ellipse, in

standard form, with center at the

origin and the star at the x-axis.

Assume all units are in million

kilometers.

The arch of a bridge is in shape of

a semiellipse, with its major axis at

the water level. Suppose the arch

is 20 feet high in the middle, and

120 feet across its major axis. How

high above the water level is the

arch, at a point 20 feet from the

center (horizontally)? Round off to

2 decimal places. Refer to Example

1.3.8 and illustrate the problem.

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