A Cassini oval is a plane curve defined as the set of points in the plane with the products of distances to two fixed points (loci) F1 and F2 is constant ; as a formula, the distance is (F1, F2) = 2a .
Cassini ovals are generalizations of lemniscates. The ovals are similar to ellipses, but instead of adding distances to loci, you multiply them.
The curve is symmetric with respect to the x-axis, the y-axis, and the origin.
The general equation is (x2 + y2 + a2)2 – 4a2x2 = b4.
The polar equation is r4 − 2a2r2cos 2θ + a4.
Cassini Oval Shapes
The ovals can take on three different shapes, shown in the following image:
- When a = b, the oval resembles an infinity symbol ∞, which is a Leminiscate of Bernoulli.
- When a < b, the oval takes on the shape of an ellipse or peanut shell.
- If a > b, the oval splits into two ellipses shaped like eggs, with the narrow ends of the “eggs” facing each other. The shapes are mirror-images of each other.
The following image shows the various shapes the Cassini oval can take on, in one image:
Area of Cassini Ovals
The oval is symmetric to both the x- and y-axes, so we can find the area of one quarter of an oval, and multiply by 4:
You can also calculate the area with the following elliptic integral, where E(x) is the complete elliptic integral of the second kind:
History of the Cassini Oval
Cassini ovals were first studied by 15th Century Giovanni Cassini, who used the ovals to model the sun’s orbit around the Earth . The orbits of the planets around the sun, orbits of satellites around a planet, and electron orbits in atoms, can all be modeled by a Cassini Oval. This may come as a surprise; a common misconception is that planetary orbits are highly elliptical .
Cassini Ovals have a wide variety of uses, including developing radar and sonar systems, modeling human blood cells, and fuel tank optimization.
“Three different shapes” image created with Desmos.
 Mümtaz, K. A Multi Foci Closed Curve: Cassini Oval, Its Properties and Applications. Institutional Archive of the Naval Postgraduate School. 2013. PDF.
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biconcave Cassini ovals using the nullfield method with discrete sources. Journal of
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 Gibson, K. The ovals of Cassini. Lecture Notes. 2007. Retrieved February 11, 2012 from: https://mse.redwoods.edu/darnold/math50c/CalcProj/sp07/ken/CalcPres.pdf
 Morgado, B. & Soares, V. Kepler’s ellipse, Cassini’s oval and the trajectory of planets. Eur. J. Phys. 35 (2014) 025009.
Stephanie Glen. "Cassini Oval" From StatisticsHowTo.com: Elementary Statistics for the rest of us! https://www.statisticshowto.com/cassini-oval/
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