Tropic of Cancer

Tropic of Cancer, also known as the Northern Tropic, is the northernmost circle of latitude on Earth where the Sun can be directly overhead. It is approximately 23°27′ north of the equator. During the summer solstice, around 21 June every year, the Sun reaches its most northern trip and is often directly over the Tropic of Cancer. It is also one of the five major latitudes dividing the Earth alongside the Arctic Circle, the equator, the Tropic of Capricorn, and the Antarctic Circle.

The Naming of the Tropic of Cancer

The northernmost latitude received its name more than 2,000 years ago. When the latitude was named during the summer solstice, the Sun was above it and pointed in the direction of the constellation Cancer. However, the Sun no longer points in the direction of the constellation cancer. Instead, it is situated in the constellation Taurus.

Areas that Fall in Tropic of Cancer

The Tropic of Cancer crosses 17 countries, three continents, and seven water bodies. The countries the Tropic of Cancer passes through include:

<a target="_blank" href='/countries/taiwan-population'>Taiwan</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/mexico-population'>Mexico</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/china-population'>China</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/bahamas-population'>Bahamas</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/myanmar-population'>Myanmar</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/india-population'>India</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/egypt-population'>Egypt</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/mali-population'>Mali</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/libya-population'>Libya</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/mauritania-population'>Mauritania</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/algeria-population'>Algeria</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/oman-population'>Oman</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/western-sahara-population'>Western Sahara</a>  
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/saudi-arabia-population'>Saudi Arabia</a>
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/niger-population'>Niger</a>
UAE (<a target="_blank" href='/world-cities/abu-dhabi-population'>Abu Dhabi</a>)
<a target="_blank" href='/countries/bangladesh-population'>Bangladesh</a> 

The northernmost latitude also crosses the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Mexico, the Taiwan Strait, and the Philippine Sea.

The Tropic of Cancer crosses through many nations than the Tropic of Capricorn because of the vast amount of land in the Northern Hemisphere.

Importance of Tropic of Cancer

The Tropic of Cancer is important to the geography of the Earth. That’s because apart from being the northernmost point where the Sun is directly overhead, it is the northern boundary of the tropics, which is the region between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Another significance of the Tropic of Cancer is influencing solar insolation and the creation of seasons. Solar insolation refers to the amount of radiation incident on the Earth over a particular time for a given location. Insolation varies over the surface of the Earth depending on the amount of incoming sunlight reaching the equator and tropics. It is highest in areas directly under the Sun and where the rays hit the land at 90 degrees.

During the June solstice, solar insulation is highest in the Tropic of Cancer areas when the Sun is directly beneath the northernmost latitude. The areas north of the latitude receive more solar energy and experience summer. Moreover, it is also when areas located above the Arctic Circle have 24 hours of daylight.

On the contrary, areas around the Antarctic Circle and lower latitudes experience winter due to low solar insolation. The areas around the Antarctic Circle also experience 24 hours of darkness and no daylight during the June solstice.