One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Geometry a surface formed by the centres of curvature of a surface.
2Optics an imaginary curved (usually spherical) surface on which initially parallel rays come to a focus after passing through a given lens or other optical system, and on which (in the case of visible light) the images of distant objects would be formed.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy.
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