Translation: The Crab
Position in the Sky
Right Ascension: 9 hours
Declination: 20 degrees
Visible between latitudes 90 and -60 degrees
Best seen in March (at 9:00 PM)
Acubens (Alpha Cnc)
Altarf (Beta Cnc)
Asellus Borealis (Gamma Cnc)
Asellus Australis (Delta Cnc)
Tegmen (Zeta 1 Cnc)
M44 Praesepe, The Beehive Cluster (open cluster)
M67 (open cluster)
This is one of the 13 constellations of the Zodiac.
Cancer, the Crab, plays a minor role in the Twelve Labors of Hercules. While Hercules was busy fighting the multi-headed monster, Hydra, the goddess Hera, who did not like Hercules, sent the Crab to distract him. Cancer grabbed onto the hero's toe with its claws, but barely breaking the rhythm of his great battle with Hydra, Hercules crushed the crab with his foot. Hera, grateful for the little crustacean's heroic but pitiful effort, gave it a place in the sky.
Cancer is famous despite itself due to its Zodiacal origins. In fact, it is very faint with no stars brighter than 4th magnitude.