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The Crab

Constellation FamilyZodiac
Celestial QuadrantNQ2
Right Ascension7h57 to 9h23
Declination+6° 29' to +33° 1'
Area (sq deg)506
Brightest StarTarf
Optimum VisibilityFebruary
NotesAs it passes along the path of the Ecliptic, the Sun passes through Cancer each year during late July and early August. Cancer is not a prominent constellation (the brightest of its stars, Tarf, only approaches magnitude +3.5) but it is notable for the open star cluster M44, known as Praesepe or the Beehive Cluster, which lies in its central regions.
Map of Cancer Map of Cancer

If not for the fact that it lies on the Ecliptic, and is therefore part of the zodiac, Cancer would be a rather inconspicuous group of stars. It is home to the relatively nearby Praesepe star cluster.


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