conic section


conic section

noun

Definition of CONIC SECTION

1
:  a plane curve, line, pair of intersecting lines, or point that is the intersection of or bounds the intersection of a plane and a cone with two nappes
2
:  a curve generated by a point which always moves so that the ratio of its distance from a fixed point to its distance from a fixed line is constant

Illustration of CONIC SECTION

First Known Use of CONIC SECTION

1664

conic section

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any two-dimensional curve traced by the intersection of a right circular cone with a plane. If the plane is perpendicular to the cone's axis, the resulting curve is a circle. Intersections at other angles result in ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas. The conic sections are studied in Euclidean geometry to analyze their physical properties and in analytic geometry to derive their equations. In either context, they have useful applications to optics, antenna design, structural engineering, and architecture.

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