The applet demonstrates the following: An ellipse is the set of all points in the plane, the sum of whose distances to two fixed points (foci) remains constant.
Select the length of a piece of string by dragging the endpoints of the blue segment.
Drag the orange point to select the position of the focus F1 along the x-Axis or the y-Axis. The other focus F2 is symmetrical to F1 with respect to the origin.
A string with the selected length is attached to both foci and is kept tight by the tip of the pencil.
Drag the tip of the pencil or press the “Draw” button to trace all points on the plane that satisfy the above definition.
Hide the pencil by pressing the "Pencil ON/OFF" button; show the ellipse by pressing “Show Ellipse” button, and explore the curve by changing the positions of the foci and the length of the constructing string.
Bring the two foci to the origin to see the circle as a special case of the ellipse.
Click on “Labels” to see some terminology.
Irina Boyadzhiev, April 19, 2015, Created with GeoGebra