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Tropic of Cancer

This article is about the circle of latitude. For other uses, see Tropic of Cancer (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 23°26′16″N 0°0′0″W / 23.43778°N -0.00000°E / 23.43778; -0.00000 (Prime Meridian){{#coordinates:23|26|16|N|0|0|0|W|type:landmark |primary |name=Prime Meridian }}

File:World map with tropic of cancer.svg
World map showing the Tropic of Cancer

The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude on the Earth at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its culmination. This event occurs once per year, at the time of the Northern solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun to its maximum extent. As of 3 February 2016, it lies at 23°26′13.9″ north of the Equator.[1]

Its Southern Hemisphere counterpart, marking the most southerly position at which the Sun may appear directly overhead, is the Tropic of Capricorn. These tropics are two of the five major degree measures or major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth, besides the Arctic and Antarctic Circles and the Equator. The positions of these circles of latitude (other than the Equator) are dictated by the tilt of the Earth's axis of rotation relative to the plane of its orbit.

Name

File:Tropicofcancer.jpg
Road sign South of Dakhla, Western Sahara marking the Tropic of Cancer. The sign was placed by the Budapest-Bamako rally participants, thus the inscription is in English and Hungarian.
File:Tropic of cancer nadia wb india.jpg
Tropic of Cancer passes through National Highway 34 in Nadia District, West Bengal, India

The imaginary line is called the Tropic of Cancer because when the Sun reaches the zenith at this latitude, it is entering the astrological sign of Cancer (summer solstice in the northern hemisphere). When it was named, the Sun was also in the direction of the constellation Cancer (Latin for crab). However, this is no longer true due to the precession of the equinoxes. According to International Astronomical Union boundaries, the Sun now is in Taurus at the June solstice. According to sidereal astrology, which divides the zodiac into 12 equal parts, the Sun is in Gemini at that time. However, according to tropical astrology, which divides the ecliptic in twelve 30° sectors, starting with the vernal equinox, the Sun is always entering Cancer at this time, as the Earth's axial tilt is most inclined towards the Sun. The word "tropic" itself comes from the Greek "trope (τροπή)", meaning turn (change of direction, or circumstances), inclination, referring to the fact that the sun appears to "turn back" at the solstices.

Geography

File:Trópico de Cáncer en México - Carretera 83 (Vía Corta) Zaragoza-Victoria, Km 27+800.jpg
Carretera 83 (Vía Corta) Zaragoza-Victoria, km 27+800. Of all crossings of the Tropic of Cancer with Mexican federal highways, this is the only place where the latitude is marked with precision and where the annual drift between the years 2005 and 2010 can be appreciated.

The Tropic of Cancer position is not fixed, but varies in a complicated manner over time. It drifts south almost half an arcsecond (0.47″) of latitude per year (it was at exactly 23° 27′ in year 1917).[2] See axial tilt and circles of latitude for further information.

North of the tropic are the subtropics and the North Temperate Zone. The equivalent line of latitude south of the Equator is called the Tropic of Capricorn, and the region between the two, centered on the Equator, is the tropics.

Starting at the Prime Meridian and heading eastward, the Tropic of Cancer passes through:

Co-ordinates Country, territory or sea Notes
26|N|0|0|E|type:landmark name=Prime Meridian

}}

23x15px Algeria
26|N|11|51|E|type:country name=Niger

}}

23x15px Niger
26|N|12|17|E|type:country name=Libya

}}

23x15px Libya The Tropic touches on the northernmost point of 23x15px Chad at 23°26′N 15°59′E / 23.433°N 15.983°E / 23.433; 15.983 (Northernmost point of Chad){{#coordinates:23|26|N|15|59|E|type:landmark name=Northernmost point of Chad

}}

26|N|25|0|E|type:country name=Egypt

}}

23x15px Egypt The Tropic passes through Lake Nasser
23°26′N 35°30′E / 23.433°N 35.500°E / 23.433; 35.500 (Red Sea){{#coordinates:23|26|N|35|30|E|type:waterbody name=Red Sea

}}

Red Sea
26|N|38|38|E|type:country name=Saudi Arabia

}}

23x15px Saudi Arabia
26|N|52|10|E|type:country name=United Arab Emirates

}}

23x15px United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi emirate only
26|N|55|24|E|type:country name=Oman

}}

23x15px Oman
23°26′N 58°46′E / 23.433°N 58.767°E / 23.433; 58.767 (Indian Ocean){{#coordinates:23|26|N|58|46|E|type:waterbody name=Indian Ocean

}}

Indian Ocean Arabian Sea
26|N|68|23|E|type:country name=India

}}

Template:Country data India States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal
26|N|88|47|E|type:country name=Bangladesh

}}

23x15px Bangladesh Khulna, Dhaka, and Chittagong Divisions
26|N|91|14|E|type:country name=India

}}

Template:Country data India State of Tripura
26|N|91|56|E|type:country name=Bangladesh

}}

23x15px Bangladesh Chittagong Division
26|N|92|19|E|type:country name=India

}}

Template:Country data India State of Mizoram
26|N|93|23|E|type:country name=Myanmar

}}

23x15px Burma (Myanmar) Chin State, Sagaing Division, Mandalay Division, Shan State
26|N|98|54|E|type:country name=China

}}

23x15px China Provinces of Yunnan (passing about 7 km north of the border with 23x15px Vietnam), Guangxi, and Guangdong
23°26′N 117°8′E / 23.433°N 117.133°E / 23.433; 117.133 (Taiwan Strait){{#coordinates:23|26|N|117|8|E|type:waterbody name=Taiwan Strait

}}

Taiwan Strait
26|N|120|8|E|type:country name=Taiwan

}}

23x15px Taiwan Chiayi County, Hualien County
23°26′N 121°29′E / 23.433°N 121.483°E / 23.433; 121.483 (Pacific Ocean){{#coordinates:23|26|N|121|29|E|type:waterbody name=Pacific Ocean

}}

Pacific Ocean Passing just south of Necker Island, Hawaii, 23x15px United States
26|N|110|15|W|type:country name=Mexico

}}

23x15px Mexico State of Baja California Sur
23°26′N 109°24′W / 23.433°N 109.400°W / 23.433; -109.400 (Gulf of California){{#coordinates:23|26|N|109|24|W|type:waterbody name=Gulf of California

}}

Gulf of California
26|N|106|35|W|type:country name=Mexico

}}

23x15px Mexico States of Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas
23°26′N 97°45′W / 23.433°N 97.750°W / 23.433; -97.750 (Gulf of Mexico){{#coordinates:23|26|N|97|45|W|type:waterbody name=Gulf of Mexico

}}

Gulf of Mexico
23°26′N 83°0′W / 23.433°N 83.000°W / 23.433; -83.000 (Atlantic Ocean){{#coordinates:23|26|N|83|0|W|type:waterbody name=Atlantic Ocean

}}

Atlantic Ocean Passing through the Straits of Florida and the Nicholas Channel
Passing just south of the Anguilla Cays (23x15px Bahamas)
Passing through the Santaren Channel and into the open ocean
26|N|76|0|W|type:country name=Bahamas

}}

23x15px Bahamas Exuma Islands and Long Island
23°26′N 75°10′W / 23.433°N 75.167°W / 23.433; -75.167 (Atlantic Ocean){{#coordinates:23|26|N|75|10|W|type:waterbody name=Atlantic Ocean

}}

Atlantic Ocean
26|N|15|57|W|type:country name=Western Sahara

}}

Western Sahara Claimed by 23x15px Morocco and the 23x15px Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
26|N|12|0|W|type:country name=Mauritania

}}

23x15px Mauritania
26|N|6|23|W|type:country name=Mali

}}

23x15px Mali
26|N|2|23|W|type:country name=Algeria

}}

23x15px Algeria

Climate

Excluding cooler highland regions in China, the climate at the Tropic of Cancer is generally hot and dry except for easterly coastal areas where orographic rainfall can be very heavy, in some places reaching Script error: No such module "convert".. Most regions on the Tropic of Cancer experience two distinct seasons: an extremely hot summer with temperatures often reaching Script error: No such module "convert". and a warm winter with maxima around Script error: No such module "convert".. Much land on or near the Tropic of Cancer is part of the Sahara Desert, whilst to the east the climate is torrid monsoonal with a short wet season from June to September and very little rainfall for the rest of the year.

The highest mountain on or adjacent to the Tropic of Cancer is Yushan in Taiwan; though it had glaciers descending as low as Script error: No such module "convert". during the Last Glacial Maximum, none survive and at present no glaciers exist within Script error: No such module "convert". of the Tropic of Cancer; the nearest currently surviving are the Minyong and Baishui in the Himalayas to the north and on Iztaccíhuatl to the south.

Circumnavigation

According to the rules of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, for a flight to compete for a round-the-world speed record, it must cover a distance no less than the length of the Tropic of Cancer, cross all meridians, and end on the same airfield where it started.

To calculate the length of the Tropic:

  • At present, the radius of the Tropic of Cancer (or Capricorn) circle, computed from the radius of Earth's equatorial circle, is 6378 km x cos(23° 26′ 16″) which results in Script error: No such module "convert"..
  • Then the length of either Tropic circle is <math>\ell = \pi \cdot 2r </math> = 3.1416 x 2 x 5851.77 which equals Script error: No such module "convert"..
  • Therefore, assuming the Earth to be a perfect sphere, the length of the circumference at the parallel of the Tropic of Cancer or Capricorn is Script error: No such module "convert"..

For an ordinary circumnavigation the rules are somewhat relaxed and the distance is set to a rounded value of at least 37,000 kilometers.

External links

See also

References

de:Wendekreis (Breitenkreis)#Nördlicher Wendekreis

pl:Zwrotnik (geografia)