(1,162 words)

(the crab), Cancer, in astronomy the name for the northernmost constellation in the ecliptic which the sun enters at the beginning of summer. The ṣūrat al-saraṭān (Greek: ΚαρνίχοΣ, Latin: Cancer) with the Arabs (exactly according to the Almagest of Ptolemy) consists of nine stars with an additional four outside the actual figure of the crab. Even the brightest stars in the constellation are only of the fourth magnitude; four of them form a smooth upright curve, the two outer being on the pincers (al-zabāni -al-d̲j̲anūbi̲ and al-zabānī al-s̲h̲imālī) while the two central ones, form…

Cite this page
Schoy, C., “al-Saraṭān”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition (1913-1936), Edited by M. Th. Houtsma, T.W. Arnold, R. Basset, R. Hartmann. Consulted online on 16 January 2019 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004082656, 1913-1936

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