Loading...

Glossary term: Tropic

Redirected from Tropic of Cancer

Description: During the equinoxes in March and September the Sun is directly overhead at the equator. In the northern hemisphere summer the Sun moves north and on the northern hemisphere summer solstice in June it is directly overhead at a line with latitude 23°26′11.2″ N. This is called the Tropic of Cancer after the constellation the Sun appeared to pass through during the solstice two thousand years ago. Similarly the Sun moves south in the southern hemisphere summer and on the southern hemisphere summer solstice in December it is directly overhead at a line with latitiude 23°26′11.2″ S, the Tropic of Capricorn. Again the name comes from the constellation the Sun appeared to be in at the solstice two thousand years ago. Precession of the Earth's axis means that the Sun no longer appears to be in Cancer or Capricorn at the solstices. The region between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn is called the tropics, here the Sun is directly overhead on two days per year.

Related Terms:


See this term in other languages

Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".