Constellation Cancer...
The Little Crab That Couldn't?

cancer astrology symbol

The constellation cancer is one of the faintest constellations. Perhaps as a consequence of failing at its task.

The goddess Hera sent Cancer to help the Hydra during his battle with Hercules

Cancer the Crab was sent to attack Hercules and grabbed his foot or toe with his claw. Hercules was not impressed and proceeded to crush the crab.

Hera rewarded Cancer by placing him in the sky. Perhaps though as punishment for not distracting Hercules enough to help the Hydra win, his stars are some of the dimmest in the zodiac.

The crab constellation has no star brighter than 4th magnitude. In star magnitude lower is brighter. Thusly Cancer is very faint to the naked eye.

Cancer is best known as the constellation that the sun is in at its farthest point north. This is the summer solstice. This is the Tropic of Cancer. The southern point at the solstice is the Tropic of Capricorn.

All though due to precession, the sun is actually in the Gemini constellation at the time of the solstice.

Praesepe, open star cluster M44 is located in Cancer. M44 also known as the beehive cluster, is a large group of 6th magnitude and fainter stars. Because of its size it's best seen in binoculars.

M67 is a distant, faint cluster and requires a larger telescope.

Where And When

Right Ascension: 9 hours

Declination: 20 degrees

Visible between latitudes 90 and -60 degrees

Best seen in March (at 9:00 PM)

Named Stars: Acubens (Alpha Cnc) Altarf (Beta Cnc) Asellus Borealis (Gamma Cnc) Asellus Australis (Delta Cnc) Tegmen (Zeta 1 Cnc)

Constellation cancer to zodiac page

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