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# Science Fair Project Encyclopedia

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# Focus (geometry)

In geometry, the focus (pl. foci) is a special point used in describing conic sections.

A conic section can be defined as the set of points whose distance to its focus is equal to the eccentricity times the distance to the corresponding directrix. Even in the case of two foci, the described set, applied on a single focus-directrix combination, is the whole conic section.

Note that (non-circular) ellipses and hyperbolas each have a pair of foci. An ellipse can be described as the set of points for which the sum of the distances to the foci is constant, while a hyperbola is the set of points for which the absolute value of the difference of the distances to the foci is constant.

In the gravitational two-body problem, the orbits of the two bodies are described by conic sections with foci at the center of mass.

03-10-2013 05:06:04