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CANCER, in astronomy; the fourth sign in the zodiac (q. v.), marked thus 25, which the sun enters on the 21st day of June, thence called the summer solstice. It consists; according to Kepler, of 17, according to Bayer, of 35 stars, 2 of which are of the third magnitude. Flamstead made a catalogue of 83 stars, the comparative brightness of several of which will be found estimated by doctor Herschel (Phil. Tran. lxxxvii., 311). The tropic of cancer is a small circle of the sphere, parallel to the equator, from which it is 234° distant, and marks the sun's greatest northern declination. It is so called because it passes through the beginning of the sign Cancer.