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There's something intriguing about the stars, isn't there?
They've been gazed upon by humans for centuries, and in that time, we've learned quite a bit about them. But even today, they hold some mystery.
In this article, we'll discuss one of the most well-known constellations - Cancer. Also known as the Giant crab, this constellation of the zodiac can be easy to miss by the naked eye as it is one of the dimmest in the night sky. To learn more about the brightest star in this constellation, as well as deep-sky objects like the Rotten egg Nebula and the Beehive cluster!
The constellation Cancer is one of the 88 constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in the night sky. It was first cataloged in ancient writings. The Greek astronomer Ptolemy identified this constellation on his Almagest around 150 AD. Cancer is Latin for 'crab,' and its symbol represents a crab that bit Hercules, showing how it got its name. In Japan, this constellation is called Kani-no-mukou, which means 'the other side of the crab' or 'beyond the crab' because Japanese astronomers viewed it as an extension to Gemini rather than a separate constellation.
It is very easy to locate Cancer because it lies just above Gemini and below Leo's constellations on our sky map.
Cancer is not rich in bright stars, but Alpha Cancri makes up for that by being one of the brightest stars in this constellation (also known as Acubens or Assellus Borealis). This star belongs to spectral class A0Vn, which means 'main sequence white dwarf' because its surface temperature is around 10,000 degrees K (9726 degrees C or 17,540 degrees F), while its luminosity is 23 times that of our Sun. Another star worth mentioning is Delta Cancri (also known as Asellus Australis) which belongs to spectral class G0V and has a surface temperature of around 5,000 degrees K (4,726 degrees C or 8,540 degrees F), while its luminosity is only 17 times that of the Sun.
The constellation Cancer contains many deep-sky objects such as The Beehive Cluster, also known by its Messier catalog number M44 or NGC 2632, and Open cluster NGC2627 (just to name a few). Cancer also contains one planetary nebula called Rotten Egg Nebula, which got its name from the hydrogen sulfide gas it emits. This nebula is located around 5,000 light-years away from Earth and was discovered by an amateur astronomer in 2007.
There are also a number of spiral galaxies nestled within the constellation. These include NGC 2535, NGC 2608, NGC 2775, and more.
The constellation of Cancer the crab is the fourth largest in our sky, and it lies east of Gemini and northwest of Leo. Cancer was one of the 48 constellations identified by Ptolemy in his star catalog around 150 AD. The brightest stars in Cancer are faint compared to those generally seen with the unaided eye.
The Cancer constellation can be observed in the Southern Hemisphere from summer to autumn and in the Northern hemisphere starting from late fall to early spring!
The constellation contains two Messier objects all well- M44, also known as the Beehive Cluster, and M67, which is an open star cluster.
The Beehive open cluster, also known as Praesepe, is quite easily visible to the naked eye and has been described by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy as 'the nebulous mass in the breast of Cancer.' It consists of at least 1,000 stars, out of which 63% are red dwarfs, and it is around three times the measure of the full moon in the night sky! The brightest stars in the cluster are of the sixth magnitude- meaning they are quite bright!
All the stars in the M67 cluster seem to be of the same age, apart from around 30 blue stragglers. The estimated age of this star cluster is between 3.2-5 billion years.
Cancer is the dimmest out of all the zodiac constellations, which can make it quite hard to find sometimes. It has only two stars above the fourth magnitude.
The Tropic of Cancer, the latitude at which the Sun reaches its overhead peak in the North, is named after the constellation of Cancer.
There are 10 named stars in the constellation of Cancer. The main stars are Acubens, Gakyid, Asellus Australis, Asellus Borealis, Tegmine, Meleph, Nahn, Piautos, Al Tarf, and Copernicus.
The most radiant star in the constellation is Al Tarf, also called Beta Cancri, which is an orange giant at a distance of around 290 light-years from Earth.
The star Asellus Australialis was referred to the ancient Babylons as 'Arkushanangarushashutu,' which is the longest of all the star names! This star is also known as the 'southern donkey' or the 'southeast star in the crab.'
On the contrary, the star Asellus Borealis is called the 'northern donkey'!
There are at least two stars with known planets in the Cancer constellation. One of these is 55 Cancri, which is the primary star for five planets, out of which four are gas giants, and one is similar to our planet Earth.
One of the stars of Cancer, Zeta Cancri, is actually a multiple star system containing at least four stars.
Cancer contains one bright star that can be seen from most localities: Alpha Cancri (Acubens). This star shines at magnitude +0.45, which makes it easy to spot from light-polluted suburban skies or even a few city centers where only the very brightest stars are visible without optical aid. It has an unusual double star nature; this triple system consists of two closely orbiting stars, plus a more distant third star that is not bound to the other two.
The Cancer constellation is said to be one of the oldest constellations in the sky. It's mentioned in many ancient texts, including Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. The constellation is associated with several myths and legends, most notably the story of Hercules and the Hydra.
The Cancer constellation is made up of 11 stars, which form a crab shape when viewed from Earth. The brightest star in Cancer is Beta Cancri or Al Tarf. Other notable stars include Praesepe (the Beehive Cluster), Delta Cancri, and Acubens (meaning the claws).
There are numerous mythology stories about the Cancer constellation. One of the most known is the legend of Hercules and the Hydra in Greek mythology. In this story, Hercules was sent by Eurystheus to kill the nine-headed Hydra. When Hercules killed one of the heads, two more grew in its place. This angered Hera so much that she sent a crab to attack Hercules while he was fighting with the Hydra.
Hercules crushed it under his foot and then went back to finish killing off all of Hydra's heads before returning home victorious! The constellation Cancer represents this creature, which found its way into the stars. Some versions of the myth say that Hercules kicked it all the way into the sky, whereas others say that it was placed there by Hera after being crushed under Hercules's foot.
The word 'cancer' comes from Latin, meaning 'crab.' The word also means tumor; hence it was used to describe the deadly disease cancer, which is characterized by the overgrowth of cells that form tumors in the body.
The crab Cancer is a cardinal water sign. It is seventh in the Celestial sphere, and people born between June 21-July 22 are born under the sign of Cancer.
Emotions are very important for Cancers. Moon is the ruling planet, Cancerians are also likely to be highly nostalgic people. They are supposedly quite moody, and their emotions keep changing constantly.
The symbol of this sign is represented by a crab that carries its shell on its back, protecting itself from surrounding negativity and harmful influences which may affect its well-being or emotional state of mind. They usually have great memories, but it's not always perfect. Individuals born under the sign of Cancer might also be pessimistic and moody.
Cancerians are very caring individuals that want to help people in need; they have a nurturing nature and enjoy taking care of others. When it comes to relationships, Cancers are loyal and devoted partners that will do anything for the ones they love.
However, they can also be quite possessive at times which may lead to some further personal issues. Overall, Cancer is a complex sign with many different characteristics that make them unique and interesting people to know! If you have a Cancer in your life, you are a lucky person indeed!
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