Circles and Ellipses
Take a can of beans from the pantry and look at its top. If you view it straight on, it's circular.
But if you view it from the side, the top may look like one of the other two drawings at left.
Think of an ellipse this way: it's a circle tilted away from you.
As you snoop around the pantry you'll find elliptical shapes galore. Glance out the window at your car. If it's parked at an angle to you, its wheels and tires will appear elliptical. Look at the top of a lampshade, a phonograph record lying at a distance, a saucer–they're all really circular, but they appear elliptical when viewed from most positions.
Let me repeat: ...