What is an ellipse?
So, what is an ellipse? Is it just a fancy word for an oval?
Ellipses are extremely important and notoriously annoying to draw. You'll find them all over the place in mechanical drawings. Cars, space ships, tanks, machines - anything man made will probably make extensive use of ellipses.
They're so prevalent because they allow us to, with relative accuracy, represent a circle as it sits in 3D space. If you take any circular object - a coin for instance - and turn it this way and that, you'll notice that the 2D shape your eyes actually see isn't always going to be a circle. It will however, generally be ellipsoid.