Tropic of Capricorn/Southern Tropic

The Tropic of Capricorn is an imaginary circle at 23.5°S latitude. Also known as the Southern Tropic, it is the last latitude circle in the Southern hemisphere (going South from the Equator) at which the Sun can be directly overhead (see diagram below). On the December Solstice that occurs around 21 December, the Sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn.

Countries through which the Tropic of Capricorn passes

South America

  • Chile
  • Argentina
  • Paraguay
  • Brazil

Africa

  • Namibia
  • Botswana
  • South Africa
  • Mozambique
  • Madagascar

and Australia

Major water bodies through which the Southern Tropic passes

  • South Atlantic Ocean
  • South Pacific Ocean
  • Indian Ocean

Some interesting facts

  • The 23.5°S latitude was named as Tropic of Capricorn during a December solstice. It was named so because the Sun was in the Capricornus constellation at the time.
  • The 23.5°S latitude passes through very little land. It passes through only 10 countries.
  • The Southern Tropic passes through mostly desert land e.g. Namib desert, Atacama desert, and various Australian deserts.
  • There are only 4 countries lying completely south of the Tropic of Capricorn. The four countries are- Lesotho, Eswatini, Uruguay, and New Zealand.
  • On the opposite side of the equator, in the Northern Hemisphere, is the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5°N latitude.
  • The region between the 23.5°N and 23.5°S latitudes is known as the tropical region. In the tropical region, the climate is generally warm and humid.
  • The latitude value of the Tropic of Capricorn keeps changing due to the wobble of Earth’s axis. The latitude value changes between 22.1°S to 24.5°S over a period of about 41,000 years.

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