# Ellipsoid vs. Ellipse: Know the Difference

By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023

**An ellipsoid is a three-dimensional shape formed by revolving an ellipse around one of its principal axes, while an ellipse is a two-dimensional, oval-shaped curve with two focal points.**

## Key Differences

An ellipsoid, being a 3D shape, extends in three dimensions, showing depth, width, and height. An ellipse, as a 2D shape, lies flat on a plane, defined only by length and width.

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The ellipsoid is characterized by its three axes: two are equal in length (semi-major axes), and the third (semi-minor axis) is shorter or longer. An ellipse has two axes: a longer major axis and a shorter minor axis.

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In an ellipsoid, each cross-section parallel to the three main axes is an ellipse. In an ellipse, any cross-section through its center forms two symmetrical arcs.

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Ellipsoids are used to model shapes like planets or rugby balls, where a 3D representation is needed. Ellipses are used in mathematics and astronomy, like representing orbits of planets and stars.

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The mathematics to describe an ellipsoid involves 3D coordinate systems and equations. The mathematics for an ellipse is simpler, involving 2D coordinates and equations.

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## Comparison Chart

### Cross-Sections

Cross-sections are ellipses

Cross-sections form symmetrical arcs

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## Ellipsoid and Ellipse Definitions

#### Ellipsoid

Generated by revolving an ellipse around one of its axes.

A rugby ball is a common example of an ellipsoid.

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#### Ellipse

A closed curve formed by points for which the sum of distances to two foci is constant.

Each point on the ellipse maintains the same total distance to the two foci.

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#### Ellipsoid

Used in geometric modeling and physics.

In physics, gravitational fields are sometimes approximated using ellipsoids.

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#### Ellipse

Used in mathematics and astronomy.

In astronomy, an ellipse models the orbit of celestial bodies.

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#### Ellipsoid

Has two equal semi-major axes and a distinct semi-minor axis.

The ellipsoid's symmetry is around its minor axis.

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#### Ellipse

A 2D, oval-shaped curve with two focal points.

The orbits of planets are often elliptical.

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#### Ellipsoid

Represents a three-dimensional extension of an ellipse.

An ellipsoid can be formed by stretching an ellipse along its third axis.

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#### Ellipse

A special case of a conic section.

An ellipse can be obtained by intersecting a cone with a plane.

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#### Ellipsoid

A geometric surface, all of whose plane sections are either ellipses or circles.

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#### Ellipse

A conic section whose plane is not parallel to the axis, base, or generatrix of the intersected cone.

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#### Ellipsoid

A surface, all of whose cross sections are elliptic or circular (including the sphere), that generalises the ellipse and in Cartesian coordinates (x, y, z) is a quadric with equation x

^{2}/a^{2}+ y^{2}/b^{2}+ z^{2}/c^{2}= 1. Category:en:SurfacesShumaila Saeed

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#### Ellipse

The locus of points for which the sum of the distances from each point to two fixed points is equal.

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#### Ellipsoid

(geography) Such a surface used as a model of the shape of the earth.

Here the geoid is thirty meters below the ellipsoid.

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#### Ellipse

(geometry) A closed curve, the locus of a point such that the sum of the distances from that point to two other fixed points (called the foci of the ellipse) is constant; equivalently, the conic section that is the intersection of a cone with a plane that does not intersect the base of the cone. Category:en:Curves

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#### Ellipse

(grammar) To remove from a phrase a word which is grammatically needed, but which is clearly understood without having to be stated.

In B's response to A's question:- (A: Would you like to go out?, B: I'd love to), the words that are ellipsed are

__go out.__Shumaila Saeed

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#### Ellipsoid

(botany) Having the tridimensional shape of an ellipse rotated on its long axis.

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#### Ellipse

An oval or oblong figure, bounded by a regular curve, which corresponds to an oblique projection of a circle, or an oblique section of a cone through its opposite sides. The greatest diameter of the ellipse is the major axis, and the least diameter is the minor axis. See Conic section, under Conic, and cf. Focus.

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#### Ellipsoid

Pertaining to, or shaped like, an ellipsoid; as, ellipsoid or ellipsoidal form.

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#### Ellipsoid

A surface whose plane sections are all ellipses or circles;

The Earth is an ellipsoid

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#### Ellipse

The elliptical orbit of a planet.

The Sun flies forward to his brother Sun;The dark Earth follows wheeled in her ellipse.

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#### Ellipse

A closed plane curve resulting from the intersection of a circular cone and a plane cutting completely through it;

The sums of the distances from the foci to any point on an ellipse is constant

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#### Ellipsoid

A 3D shape with elliptical cross-sections.

The earth is often modeled as an oblate ellipsoid.

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#### Ellipse

Defined by a major and a minor axis.

An ellipse's shape is determined by the lengths of its axes.

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## Repeatedly Asked Queries

#### Can an ellipsoid have circular cross-sections?

Yes, if the semi-major and semi-minor axes are equal.

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#### Can an ellipse exist in three dimensions?

No, an ellipse is a two-dimensional shape.

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#### Is Earth an example of an ellipsoid?

Yes, Earth is often modeled as an oblate ellipsoid.

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#### Are all cross-sections of an ellipsoid ellipses?

Yes, all cross-sections parallel to the principal axes of an ellipsoid are ellipses.

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#### What is the mathematical equation for an ellipsoid?

The equation for an ellipsoid involves 3D coordinates and quadratic terms.

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#### What is an ellipsoid?

An ellipsoid is a 3D shape formed by revolving an ellipse around one of its axes.

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#### How is an ellipse defined?

An ellipse is a 2D oval-shaped curve with two focal points.

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#### How many axes does an ellipsoid have?

An ellipsoid has three axes: two semi-major axes and one semi-minor axis.

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#### What are the axes of an ellipse?

An ellipse has a longer major axis and a shorter minor axis.

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#### Can an ellipsoid be perfectly spherical?

Yes, if all three axes are of equal length.

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#### Is an ellipse a type of circle?

No, an ellipse is an oval shape, while a circle is perfectly round.

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#### Can an ellipse be created by cutting a cone?

Yes, an ellipse is a conic section formed by intersecting a cone with a plane.

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#### What is the real-world example of an ellipse?

Planetary orbits are real-world examples of ellipses.

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#### Are all ellipsoids symmetrical?

Yes, ellipsoids are symmetrical about their principal axes.

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#### How are ellipsoids used in geography?

Ellipsoids are used to approximate the shape of Earth in geodetic surveys.

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#### Can the shape of an ellipse change based on its axes?

Yes, changing the lengths of the axes alters the shape of the ellipse.

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#### Are ellipses only found in geometry?

No, ellipses are also significant in physics and astronomy.

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#### How is the size of an ellipse determined?

The size of an ellipse is determined by the lengths of its major and minor axes.

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#### Do ellipsoids have a center of symmetry?

Yes, ellipsoids have a center of symmetry at the intersection of their axes.

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#### What is the focal property of an ellipse?

The sum of distances from any point on the ellipse to its two foci is constant.

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About Author

Written by

Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.