Applications of Hyperbola

The shadow at the tip of a sundial (or the shadow on the ground of the tip of any vertical pole) will follow the path a of hyperbola during the course of one day.

If a spacecraft travels close enough to a planet that the gravity of the planet affects the path of the spacecraft but fast enough that the spacecraft does not get trapped into orbit around the planet, then the spacecraft will follow the path of a hyperbola as it passes the planet.

The properties of a hyperbola are central to solving Trilateration problems which allow position to be determined by measuring the difference in distance from 2 (or more) fixed (and known) positions. GPS uses this to locate a position from satellite data.


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