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The Ellipse - Problem 13

Teacher/Instructor Alissa Fong
Alissa Fong

MA, Stanford University
Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area

Alissa is currently a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Brightstorm users love her clear, concise explanations of tough concepts

If your ellipse is centered at the origin, you know that your numerators in the fractions will be x^2 and y^2, the two fractions will be added, and the right side of the equation will equal one. All you'll need to determine is the values of "a" and "b," and decide which will be put in the x^2 fraction and which will go with the y^2 fraction. If the major axis is vertical, or "surfboard style," then y^2 will be over the larger value (a^2), and if the ellipse has a horizontal major axis, or "hamburger style," then x^2 will be over the larger value (a^2). Remember to square both "a" and "b" in the denominators!

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