The theory of centres of similitude and coaxal circles affords elegant demonstrations of the famous problem: To describe a circle to touch three given circles.
Then circles having the intersections of tangents to this circle and the line of centres for centres, and the lengths of the tangents as radii, are members of the coaxal system.
The centres of circles forming a coaxal system are collinear 2.
A system of circles is coaxal when the locus of points from which tangents to the circles are equal is a straight line.
A coaxal system having imaginary points of intersection has real limiting points; 4.
A coaxal system having real points of intersection has imaginary limiting points; 3.
John Casey, professor of mathematics at the Catholic university of Dublin, has given elementary demonstrations founded on the theory of similitude and coaxal circles which are reproduced in his Sequel to Euclid; an analytical solution by Gergonne is given in Salmon's Conic Sections.
To construct circles coaxal with the two given circles, draw the tangent, say XR, from X, the point where the radical axis intersects the line of centres, to one of the given circles, and with centre X and radius XR describe a circle.
A system coaxal with the two given circles is readily constructed by describing circles through the common points on the radical axis and any third point; the minimum circle of the system is obviously that which has the common chord of intersection for diameter, the maximum is the radical axis - considered as a circle of infinite radius.
In the case of a coaxal system having real points of intersection the limiting points are imaginary.