Tropic of Capricorn

The Tropic of Capricorn (or the Southern Tropic) is the circle of latitude that contains the subsolar point on the December (or southern) solstice. It is thus the southernmost latitude where the Sun can be directly overhead. Its northern equivalent is the Tropic of Cancer.

The Tropic of Capricorn is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of Earth. As of 19 April 2019, its latitude is 23°26′12.4″ (or 23.43678°)[1] south of the Equator, but it is very gradually moving northward, currently at the rate of 0.47 arcseconds, or 15 metres, per year.

Coordinates: 23°26′12.5″S 0°0′0″W / 23.436806°S -0.00000°E

World map with tropic of capricorn
World map showing the Tropic of Capricorn
Hito al Tropico de Capricornio (2)
Monument marking the Tropic of Capricorn just north of Antofagasta, Chile
Reloj Solar del Trópico de Capricornio
Sundial on the Tropic of Capricorn, Jujuy Province, Argentina
Brasil Tropic of Capricorn
Sign marking the tropic in Maringá, Brazil
Australia in 1794 Samuel Dunn Map of the World in Hemispheres
Tropic of Capricorn in 1794 Dunn Map of the World
Tropic of Capricorn monument, Diamantina Developmental Road, 2016
Tropic of Capricorn on the Diamantina Developmental Road, Amaroo, Queensland, Australia
Tropic of Capricorn Longreach
Longreach, Queensland, Australia

Name

When this line of latitude was named in the last centuries BC, the Sun was in the constellation Capricornus (Latin for goat horn) at the December solstice, the time each year that the Sun reaches its zenith at this latitude. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, this is no longer the case; today the Sun is in Sagittarius at the December solstice. The word "tropic" itself comes from the Greek "trope (τροπή)", meaning to turn or change direction, referring to the fact that the Sun appears to "turn back" at the solstices.

Geography and environment

The Tropic of Capricorn is the dividing line between the Southern Temperate Zone to the south and the tropics to the north. The Northern Hemisphere equivalent of the Tropic of Capricorn is the Tropic of Cancer.

The Tropic of Capricorn's position is not fixed, but constantly changes because of a slight wobble in the Earth's longitudinal alignment relative to its orbit around the Sun. Earth's axial tilt varies over a 41,000 year period from 22.1 to 24.5 degrees and currently resides at about 23.4 degrees. This wobble means that the Tropic of Capricorn is currently drifting northward at a rate of almost half an arcsecond (0.468″) of latitude, or 15 metres, per year (it was at exactly 23° 27′S in 1917 and will be at 23° 26'S in 2045). See under circles of latitude for information.

There are approximately 13 hours, 35 minutes of daylight during the summer solstice. During the winter solstice, there are 10 hours, 41 minutes of daylight.

Africa

In southern Africa, where rainfall is reliable, farming is possible, though yields are low even with fertilisers.

Australia

In Australia, areas on the Tropic have some of the most variable rainfall in the world[2] and thus even the wetter areas cannot be generally farmed, since irrigation sources invariably dry up in drought years.

South America

In South America, whilst in the continental cratons soils are almost as old as in Australia and Southern Africa, the presence of the geologically young and evolving Andes means that this region is on the western side of the subtropical anticyclones and thus receives warm and humid air from the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, areas in Brazil adjacent to the Tropic are extremely important agricultural regions, producing large quantities of crops such as sugarcane, and the natural rainforest vegetation has been almost entirely cleared, except for a few remaining patches of Atlantic Forest. Further south in Argentina, the temperate grasslands of the Pampas region is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, producing of wheat, soybeans, maize, and beef, making the country one of the largest worldwide agricultural exporters, similar to the role played by the Prairies region in Canada.

West of the Andes, however, the Humboldt Current makes conditions extremely arid, creating the Atacama Desert, one of the driest in the world, so that no glaciers exist between Volcán Sajama at 18˚30'S and Cerro Tres Cruces at 27˚S.[3] Vegetation here is almost non-existent, though on the eastern slopes of the Andes rainfall is adequate for rainfed agriculture.

Around the world

Starting at the Prime Meridian and heading eastwards, the Tropic of Capricorn passes through 10 countries:

Co-ordinates Country, territory or sea Notes
23°26′S 0°0′E / 23.433°S 0.000°E Atlantic Ocean
23°26′S 14°27′E / 23.433°S 14.450°E  Namibia Erongo, Khomas, Hardap, Khomas (again), and Omaheke regions
23°26′S 20°0′E / 23.433°S 20.000°E  Botswana Kgalagadi, Kweneng and Central districts
23°26′S 27°18′E / 23.433°S 27.300°E  South Africa Limpopo Province
23°26′S 31°33′E / 23.433°S 31.550°E  Mozambique Gaza and Inhambane provinces
23°26′S 35°26′E / 23.433°S 35.433°E Indian Ocean Mozambique Channel
23°26′S 43°45′E / 23.433°S 43.750°E  Madagascar Toliara and Fianarantsoa provinces
23°26′S 47°39′E / 23.433°S 47.650°E Indian Ocean
23°26′S 113°47′E / 23.433°S 113.783°E  Australia Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland
23°26′S 151°3′E / 23.433°S 151.050°E Coral Sea Passing just south of Cato Reef in  Australia's Coral Sea Islands Territory
23°26′S 166°46′E / 23.433°S 166.767°E Pacific Ocean Passing just north of the Minerva Reefs ( Tonga), and just south of Tubuai ( French Polynesia)
23°26′S 70°36′W / 23.433°S 70.600°W  Chile Antofagasta Region
23°26′S 67°07′W / 23.433°S 67.117°W  Argentina Jujuy, Salta, Jujuy (again), Salta (again) and Formosa provinces
23°26′S 61°23′W / 23.433°S 61.383°W  Paraguay Boquerón, Presidente Hayes, Concepción, San Pedro and Amambay departments
23°26′S 55°38′W / 23.433°S 55.633°W  Brazil Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, and São Paulo states
23°26′S 45°2′W / 23.433°S 45.033°W Atlantic Ocean

Places located along the Tropic of Capricorn

The following cities and landmarks are either located near the Tropic of Capricorn, or the tropic passes through them.

Flag of Argentina.svg Argentina
Flag of Australia.svg Australia
Flag of Botswana.svg Botswana
Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil
Flag of Chile.svg Chile
Flag of Madagascar.svg Madagascar
Flag of Mozambique.svg Mozambique
Flag of Namibia.svg Namibia
Flag of Paraguay.svg Paraguay
Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa
Tropico del capricorno Madagascar Regione di Atsimo-Andrefana

Atsimo-Andrefana Region, Madagascar

Tropic of Capricorn Jujuy

The Tropic of Capricorn marked in Jujuy Province in northern Argentina

Botswana Tropic of Capricorn Sign

Monument marking the Tropic of Capricorn as it passes through Botswana

Tropic of Capricorn (Namibia)

A sign marking the Tropic of Capricorn as it passes through Namibia

Trópico de Capricórnio

Roadway plaque marking the Tropic of Capricorn in the city of Santana do Parnaíba, Brazil, at the correct latitude for year 1917.

TOC sign Brazil

Marker for the tropic in Maringá, Paraná, Brazil, July 2012

Tocrockhampton

Roadside monument marking Tropic of Capricorn in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, 28 January 2005

Tropic-of-Capricorn Rockhampton

Monument marking Tropic of Capricorn in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, 1970

Tropic of capricorn Australia

Road sign marking Tropic of Capricorn in Western Australia, Australia, 26 August 2008

Tropic-capri-australia2

Monument marking the Tropic of Capricorn just north of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

Axial tilt vs tropical and polar circles
Relationship between Earth's axial tilt (ε) to the tropical and polar circles

List of countries entirely south of the Tropic of Capricorn

As the major portion of earth's land is located in the Northern Hemisphere there are only four countries entirely south of the Tropic of Capricorn (there are 74 countries entirely north of the Tropic of Cancer):

Length

Length of the Tropic on 11 June 2015, at 23°26′14″S is 36,788 kilometres (22,859 mi).[4]

Note

  1. ^ The Cook islands, Tokelau and Niue, which are part of the Realm of New Zealand lie above the Tropic of Capricorn.

References

  1. ^ obliquity of the ecliptic (Eps Mean)
  2. ^ Geographical Patterning of Interannual Rainfall Variability in the Tropics and Near Tropics
  3. ^ Exposure dating of Late Glacial and pre-LGM moraines in the Cordon de Doña Rosa, Northern/Central Chile (~31°S)
  4. ^ RhumbSolve online rhumb line calculator.

External links

See also

155th meridian west

The meridian 155° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 155th meridian west forms a great circle with the 25th meridian east.

165th meridian east

The meridian 165° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 165th meridian east forms a great circle with the 15th meridian west.

170th meridian west

The meridian 170° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 170th meridian west forms a great circle with the 10th meridian east.

175th meridian west

The meridian 175° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 175th meridian west forms a great circle with the 5th meridian east.

25th parallel south

The 25th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 25 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane, just south of the Tropic of Capricorn. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australasia, the Pacific Ocean and South America.

35th meridian west

The meridian 35° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, the Atlantic Ocean, South America, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

50th parallel south

The 50th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 50 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and South America.

At this latitude the sun is visible for 16 hours, 22 minutes during the December solstice and 8 hours, 4 minutes during the June solstice. On December 21, the sun is at 63.83 degrees in the sky and on June 21, the sun is at 16.17 degrees in the sky.

5th meridian east

The meridian 5° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 5th meridian east forms a great circle with the 175th meridian west.

65th meridian east

The meridian 65° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 65th meridian east forms a great circle with the 115th meridian west.

65th parallel south

The 65th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 65 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.

At this latitude the sun is visible for 22 hours, 02 minutes during the December solstice and 3 hours, 35 minutes during the June solstice.

80th parallel south

The 80th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 80 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane.

It passes through Antarctica and Antarctic ice shelves.

Cape Capricorn

Cape Capricorn is a coastal headland on Curtis Island, Gladstone Region, Queensland, Australia.It was named by Captain Cook when he passed on 25 May 1770, since he found it to be located on the Tropic of Capricorn (which was located at 23°28′15″ in 1770). The modern surveyed location of its endpoint is just slightly south of the present tropic.

Division of Capricornia

The Division of Capricornia is an Australian Electoral Division in Queensland. The division was one of the original 65 divisions contested at the first federal election. It is named after the Tropic of Capricorn, which runs through the Division. It is located on the central Queensland coast and its centre has always been the city of Rockhampton. On its current boundaries it also includes the town of Yeppoon and Ooralea, a southern suburb of Mackay.

The first election saw Alexander Paterson, with 51% of votes, narrowly elected over the ALP candidate Wallace Nelson. For most of its subsequent history it has been a fairly safe seat for the ALP. This was especially true when Gladstone was part of the seat from 1901 to 1984. Even after Gladstone was redistributed to Hinkler in 1984 (it is now part of Flynn), it remained one of the few non-metropolitan seats where Labor consistently did well. Labor held it for all but two terms from 1961 to 2013, the two exceptions being the high-tide elections of 1975 and 1996. Its best-known member was Frank Forde, who was briefly Prime Minister of Australia in 1945.

Capricornia is currently held by Michelle Landry for the Liberal National Party who in 2016, became the first reelected conservative MP for the seat since George Pearce in 1958.

Geographical zone

The five main latitude regions of the Earth's surface comprise geographical zones, divided by the major circles of latitude. The differences between them relate to climate. They are as follows:

The North frigid zone, between the Arctic Circle 66.5° N and the North Pole 90° N. Covers 4.12% of Earth's surface.

The North temperate zone, between the Tropic of Cancer 23.5° N and the Arctic Circle 66.5° N. Covers 25.99% of Earth's surface.

The Torrid zone, between the Tropic of Cancer 23.5° N and the Tropic of Capricorn 23.5° S. Covers 39.78% of Earth's surface.

The South temperate zone, between the Tropic of Capricorn 23.5° S and the Antarctic Circle 66.5° S. Covers 25.99% of Earth's surface.

The South frigid zone, from Antarctic Circle 66.5° S and the South Pole 90° S. Covers 4.12% of Earth's surface.

On the basis of latitudinal extent, the globe is divided into three broad heat zones.

Simon Reeve (British TV presenter)

Simon Alan Reeve (born 21 July 1972) is a British author and television presenter, currently based in London. He makes travel documentaries and has written books on international terrorism, modern history and his adventures. He has presented the BBC television series Tropic of Cancer, Equator and Tropic of Capricorn.

Reeve is the New York Times' best-selling author of The New Jackals (1998), One Day in September (2000) and Tropic of Capricorn (2007). He has received a One World Broadcasting Trust Award and the 2012 Ness Award from the Royal Geographical Society.

Tropic of Cancer

The Tropic of Cancer, which is also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude on Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. This occurs on the June solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun to its maximum extent. It is currently 23°26′12.4″ (or 23.43678°) north of the Equator.

Its Southern Hemisphere counterpart, marking the most southerly position at which the Sun can be directly overhead, is the Tropic of Capricorn. These tropics are two of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of Earth; the others being the Arctic and Antarctic Circles and the Equator. The positions of these two circles of latitude (relative to the Equator) are dictated by the tilt of Earth's axis of rotation relative to the plane of its orbit.

Tropic of Capricorn (TV series)

Tropic of Capricorn is a BBC television documentary series. It was aired on BBC Two in 2008 and showed presenter Simon Reeve travelling along the Tropic of Capricorn.

Tropic of Capricorn (disambiguation)

The Tropic of Capricorn is the most southerly circle of latitude of the Earth's tropics region.

Tropic of Capricorn may also refer to:

Tropic of Capricorn (novel), Henry Miller novel

Tropic of Capricorn (TV series), BBC TV series

Tropic of Capricorn (album)

Tropic of Capricorn (novel)

Tropic of Capricorn is a semi-autobiographical novel by Henry Miller, first published by Obelisk Press in Paris in 1939. A prequel of sorts to Miller's first published novel, 1934's Tropic of Cancer, it was banned in the United States until a 1961 Justice Department ruling declared that its contents were not obscene.

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