Tracing a Line Segment Moving along an Ellipse

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A line segment makes a constant angle with the tangent to an ellipse at the point of tangency. This Demonstration traces the path of the endpoints of the line segment as the intersection point moves along the circumference of the ellipse.

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A variety of curves can be obtained by changing the eccentricity of the ellipse, the lengths of the two parts of the line segment, and the angle the line segment makes with the tangent.

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Contributed by: Erik Mahieu (August 2012)
Suggested by: Tom Sash
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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