|Meaning in English||the Crab|
|Right ascension||9 h|
|Visible to latitude||Between 90° and -60°|
506 sq. deg.
|Number of stars with|
apparent magnitude < 3
- Apparent magnitude
|Al Tarf (β Cnc)|
In astronomy and astrology, Cancer, the crab, is one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Cancer is small and dim, and to many it does not resemble a crab. It lies between Gemini to the west and Leo to the east, Lynx to the north and Canis Minor and Hydra to the south.
|Table of contents|
2 Notable deep sky objects
The brightest star in Cancer is β Cancri, called Al Tarf ("the end" of the crab's leg). Other stars include Acubens (α), and the Aselli (the Asses), Asellus Borealis (γ) and Australis (δ), supposed to represent the asses that Dionysus and Silenus rode into battle.
Notable deep sky objects
Cancer is best noted among stargazers as the home of Praesepe (M44), an open cluster also called the Beehive Cluster or the Gate of Men, which contains the star η Cancri.
Another deep sky object M67, near Acubens (α Cnc), is one of the oldest clusters in the sky, more than 10 billion years old. It is a large, faint open cluster of about 100 stars.
The astrological sign Cancer (June 21 - July 22) is associated with the constellation. In some cosmologies, Cancer is associated with the classical element Water, and thus called a Water Sign (with Scorpio and Pisces). Its polar opposite is Capricorn.
In the 1970s there was a proposal to rename the zodiac sign, as some astrologers felt that an imagined association with the disease Cancer was off-putting. Some people with the sun sign of Cancer refer to themselves as moon children instead (the sign is associated with the Moon in astrology).
Constellations of the zodiac: Aries -- Taurus -- Gemini -- Cancer -- Leo -- Virgo -- Libra -- Scorpius -- (Ophiuchus) -- Sagittarius -- Capricornus -- Aquarius -- Pisces