In this appendix to my previous post “From Dancing Planet to Kepler’s Laws“, we derive the polar form for an ellipse that has a rectangular coordinate system’s origin as one of its foci.

Fig. 1

We start with the ellipse shown in Fig. 1. Namely,

Clearly,

After shifting the origin to the right by , the ellipse has the new origin as one of its foci (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2

Since , the ellipse in is

Substituting in (2) by

yields equation

Replacing by respectively, the equation becomes

Fig. 3

Solving (3) for (see Fig. 3) gives

or .

The first solution

.

Let

,

we have

.

The second solution is not valid since it suggests that :

.