Math, Please Help!!!

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an engineer designs a satellite dish with a parabolic cross section. The dish is 15 ft wide at the opening and the focus is placed 4 ft from the vertex. find an equation of the parabola.

I know how to work this problem, but how do I know that I use the equation y^2 = 4px instead of x^2 = 4py.

Please help this is so confusing!!!!

  • Math, Please Help!!! -

    Notice the wording: Find AN equation of
    the parabola. I believe the word AN
    implies that there is more than one possibility.

    If there was only one possibility, the problem would have said: Find THE eguation of the parabola. So I believe an X or Y-parabola is correct.

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