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Definition: The conic sections are the nondegenerate curves generated by the intersections of a plane with one or two nappes of a cone. For a plane perpendicular to the axis of the cone, a circle is produced. For a plane that is not perpendicular to the axis and that intersects only a single nappe, the curve produced is either an ellipse or a parabola (Hilbert and Cohn-Vossen 1999, p. 8). The curve produced by a plane intersecting both nappes is a hyperbola (Hilbert and Cohn-Vossen 1999, pp. 8-9).