Starwatch: a good time to track down the Crab

Stuart Clark
Starwatch chart 28 March 2020

This week is a good time to track down one of the fainter constellations: Cancer, the Crab. It is one of the zodiacal constellations, meaning that the sun passes through it during the year. It is bordered on the west by Gemini, the Twins, and to the east by Leo, the Lion – both zodiacal constellations.

Its faint stars mean that a reasonably dark sky is needed to see it. Near the centre of the constellation lies the Praesepe star cluster, also known as the beehive cluster. This is visible to the naked eye as a small patch of misty light.

The chart shows the view looking south from London, UK, in the evening. All this week, Cancer will be well placed for observation. It will be at it highest in the sky around 21:00 GMT, when it crosses the north-south meridian line. From the southern hemisphere, Cancer is also easily visible at this time of year. Look for it in the northern sky during the evening.