THE TROPICS OF CANCER AND CAPRICORN
Here's a mnemonic device to help distinguish between the two global geographical regions:
Ca-N-cer lies North of the Equator
For their degrees of latitude:
= letters 2 +(n halfway=½°N) +3 letters = 23½°N
Both latitudes take their names from the Zodiac of stellar constellations set along the ecliptic (the path followed by the sun and planets through the celestial sphere in course of a year). Cancer and Capricorn lie opposite each other on the ecliptic 6 months apart in the cycle (mid-June/July and mid-Dec./Jan.), and when the Sun was at its highest point in the N. Hemisphere it was (historically) in the region of Cancer (although nowadays at such times the Sun is actually in the next constellation, and leaving Gemini for Taurus).
The Tropics usually refers to the whole pan-equatorial region lying between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. For obvious climactic reasons (the sun always being high in the sky and directky overhead twice a year) it is sometimes called the Torrid Zone!
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