Online Encyclopedia

CANCER (" THE CRAB ")

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 175 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CANCER (" THE CRAB "), in astronomy, the fourth sign of the zodiac, denoted by the symbol . Its name may be possibly derived from the fact that when the sun arrives at this part of the ecliptic it apparently retraces its path, resembling in some manner the sidelong motion of a crab. It is also a constellation, mentioned by Eudoxus (4th century B.C.) and Aratus (3rd century B.C.); Ptolemy catalogued 13 stars in it, Tycho Brahe 15 and Hevelius 29. Its most interesting objects are: a large loose cluster of stars, known as Praesepe or the Beehive, visible as a nebulous patch to the naked eye, and Cancri, a remarkable multiple star, composed of two stars, of magnitudes 5 and 5•7, revolving about each other in 6o years, and a third star of magnitude 5.5 which revolves about these two in an opposite direction in a period of 171 years; from irregularities in the motion of this star, it is supposed to be a satellite of an invisible body which itself revolves about the two stars previously mentioned, in a period of boo to 700 years.
End of Article: CANCER (" THE CRAB ")
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