Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Intersecting Cirlcles Shape
Name: Betty G.
Status: student	
Age:  N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

Is there a name for the shape that is created when two circles intersect? It looks to be a pointed ellipse - but does an official geometric name for the shape exist?


I believe you are referring to the "VESICA". Vesicas are the "eye-ball" shaped patterns formed when two or more circles intersect each other. They are also known to be present when looking at the "UFO - style crop circles." I believe the shape of the vesica also appears in 2-dimensional space when two waves of the same phase and amplitude collide. These "vesica" appear as the crests and the valleys (maxs and mins) of the CONstructive and DEstructive interference of two similar waves.

This is either a subset of the SUPERPOSITION PRINCIPLE or VICE VERSA.

Good question. I just hope my answer is helpful.

-Darin Wagner

Click here to return to the Mathematics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory