Cancer Constellation History, Location, How To View

Cancer Constellation: History, Location, How to View

Did you know the Moon along with their wane and moods-wax like the lunar cycle rule the Cancer zodiac? Probably not, because we paid attention only to the traits we receive from our Zodiac signs and not their history and characteristics! So, let’s learn about them.

The Cancer is a constellation of medium size which is situated on the ecliptic plane. It is the most fainted one among the twelve zodiac constellations. This constellation has numerous popular deep-sky objects including the Messier 44 (open cluster Praesepe), Messier 67 and NGC 2535 and NGC 2536 (the interacting spiral galaxies).

History of Cancer Constellation

The evidence about the first documented example of Cancer was from the 2nd millennium BCE. During those times, it was known as the Sun of the South by the astronomers of Akkadian. The classical antiquity, called Cancer the “Gate of Men”. They had the belief that Cancer was the portal souls used for coming and going to heaven.

History reveals that this constellation was also called “the Dark Sign” due to its faintness. The Cancer’s position has changed from what it was in the beginning, but its stature as a Zodiac constellation has remained persistent over the millennia.

Like so many other constellations, the credit for the first catalogue of Cancer also goes to Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer who catalogued it during the 2nd century.

What is the English Name for Cancer Constellation?

The English name for the Cancer constellation is “Crab“.

What is the Greek Mythological Significance of Cancer Constellation?

Cancer has a significant position in Greek mythology. The myth associated with this constellation is related to the crab. The story is about the Twelve Labors of Heracles, which is also represented through the Hercules constellation. In this myth, Hera, the wife of Zeus, sent the crab for distracting Hercules while he was battling the Lernaean Hydra. Lernaean Hydra was the beast which looked like a serpent. It had poisonous breath and many heads which are represented through the Hydra constellation. When the crab sent by Hera tried to bite and kill Hercules, he kicked the crab to the stars and Cancer constellation was formed.

Another version of this myth states that the Hercules crushed the crab. Afterwards, Hera appreciated crab’s efforts and as a reward placed it into the stars. But she put it among the fainted and least bright stars because it did not succeed in his task.

How to Find Cancer Constellation?

To locate the Cancer constellation, follow the steps discussed ahead:

  • Find Pollux in Gemini and Regulus in Leo.
  • Draw an imaginary line between them.
  • Move along the line until you reach the midpoint.
  • When you reach there, you will find the Cancer constellation right in the middle of the line.

What is the Area of Cancer Constellation?

This constellation occupies an area of 505.872 square degrees.

What Quadrant is Cancer Constellation in?

It is located in the second quadrant of the northern hemisphere, NQ2.

What Latitudes is Cancer Constellation Visible in?

This constellation is visible in the latitude of +90° and -60°. Its neighboring constellations are:

What Type of Telescope if best for Viewing Cancer Constellation?

Cancer is among the fainted constellations. And it will be hard to see it through binoculars or ordinary science telescopes. This constellation is visible with the 8-inch telescopes, but to see it clearly and have a detailed view of this constellation, you will need large professional telescopes like the 15 inches Dob telescope.


Recommended Reading: