We report on a simple anisotropic magneto-optical trap for neutral atoms that produces a large sample of cold atoms confined in a cylindrically-shaped volume with a high aspect ratio (100:1). Due to the large number of trapped atoms, the laser beams that propagate along the optically thick axis of the trap to cool the atoms are substantially attenuated. We demonstrate that the resulting intensity imbalance produces a net force that spatially localizes the atoms. This limits both the trap length and the total number of trapped atoms. Rotating the cooling beams by a small angle relative to the trap axis avoids the problem of attenuation, and atoms can be trapped throughout the entire available trapping volume. Numerical and experimental results are reported that demonstrate the effects of absorption in an anisotropic trap, and a steady-state, line-center optical path length of 55 is measured for a probe beam propagating along the length of the trap.
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