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For the novel by Henry Miller, see Tropic of Cancer .
World map showing the Tropic of Cancer
The Tropic of Cancer, or the Northern tropic, is one of five major degree measures or major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. It is the northmost latitude at which the sun can appear directly overhead at noon. This event occurs at the June solstice, when the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun to its maximum extent.


The Tropic of Cancer currently lies 23° 26′ 22″ north of the Equator. North of this latitude are the subtropics and the North Temperate Zone. The equivalent line of latitude south of the Equator is called the Tropic of Capricornmarker, and the region between the two, centered on the Equator, is the tropics.

The position of the Tropic of Cancer is not fixed, but rather it varies in a complicated manner over time; see under circles of latitude for information.

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

{| class="wikitable"


The imaginary line is called the Tropic of Cancer because when it was named the sun was in the direction of the constellationCancer(Latinfor crab) at the June solstice. However, this is no longer true due to the precession of the equinoxes. According to International Astronomical Unionboundaries, the Sun now is in Taurusat the June solstice. According to sidereal astrology, which divides the zodiacinto 12 equal parts, the Sun is in Geminiat that time. The word "tropic" itself comes from the Greek tropos, meaning turn, referring to the fact that the sun appears to "turn back" at the solstices.


According to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale's rules, 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, as well as cross all of the meridians, and end on the same airfield where it started. This length is set to be 36,787.559 kilometers - a number which implies a precision that certainly does not exist, considering the variations of the Tropic of Cancer as described above.

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

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See also

Country, territory or sea
The Tropic sometimes touches on the northmost point of Chadmarker at
Red Seamarker
Abu Dhabimarker: usually this emirate only
Indian Oceanmarker
Arabian Seamarker
States of Gujaratmarker, Rajasthanmarker, Madhya Pradesh marker, Chhatisgarhmarker, Jharkhandmarker, and West Bengalmarker
Khulnamarker, Dhakamarker, and Chittagongmarker Divisions
State of Tripuramarker
Chittagong Divisionmarker
State of Mizorammarker
Provinces of Yunnanmarker, Guangxi, and Guangdongmarker
Taiwan Straitmarker
Pacific Oceanmarker
Passing just south of Necker Islandmarker, Hawaiimarker,
State of Baja California Surmarker
Gulf of Californiamarker
States of Sinaloamarker, Durangomarker, Zacatecasmarker, San Luis Potosimarker, Nuevo Leonmarker, and Tamaulipasmarker
Gulf of Mexicomarker
Atlantic Oceanmarker
Passing through the Straits of Floridamarker and the Nicholas Channelmarker

>Passing just south of the Anguilla Caysmarker ( )

>Passing through the Santaren Channel and into the open ocean
Exumamarker Islands and Long Islandmarker
Atlantic Oceanmarker
Western Saharamarker
Claimed by

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