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Curve with two separate branches, one of the conic sections. In Euclidean geometry, the intersection of a double right circular cone and a plane at an angle that is less than the cone's generating angle (the angle its sides make with its central axis) forms the hyperbola's two branches (one on each nappe, or single cone). In analytic geometry, the standard equation of a hyperbola is x2/a2y2/b2 = 1. Hyperbolas have many important physical attributes that make them useful in the design of lenses and antennas.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on hyperbola, visit Britannica.com.