The Little Crab That Couldn't?
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
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
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)
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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