The Tropic of Capricorn is located at a latitude of roughly 23deg27' S of the terrestrial Equator. This latitude corresponds to the Sun's ecliptic's southernmost declination toward the celestial equator. The Sun is overhead at the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn during the June and December solstices, respectively. It is therefore at its zenith and nadir twice per year at these locations.
The name "Tropic of Capricorn" was given by Christopher Columbus who were the first humans to see it! He called it "La Trinidad", which means "the Trinity" in Spanish. The word "trinity" comes from the Roman term for three, trium. So the whole thing has a religious meaning because Columbus saw it as a sign of divine favor reaching out to touch the entire world.
Modern scientists also regard the tropics as important centers of activity for earth systems. The tropics are regions of high biological productivity due to their warm temperatures and relatively constant climate. They are also areas where most ocean currents come together. These factors help to sustain life in other parts of the world by providing food and oxygen for animals and plants.
The tropics are also prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Due to their location on major landmasses, they are often the sites of significant human settlements too. All this activity makes the tropics interesting and dangerous places to be.
The Tropic of Capricorn (or the Southern Tropic) is the latitude circle containing the subsolar point during the December (or southern) solstice. On the June Solstice, it also reaches 90 degrees below the horizon at solar midnight. The Tropic of Cancer is its northern counterpart. They both pass over the equator at monthly intervals, but they are not exactly equivalent because they have different lengths. The length of a tropical year is almost exactly equal to the mean distance from the Earth to the Sun, which is approximately 267 days.
The term "solstice" comes from Latin meaning "sun stands still," and refers to the fact that on the day when the sun is at its farthest north or south, it is directly over the equator, thus causing night to become day and day to become night throughout the whole world. At other times of the year, the sun is at a certain angle from the equator, so that part of the earth is illuminated by direct sunlight and another part is in darkness. The solstices occur when the sun is either at its highest point in the sky (northern summer solstice) or its lowest point in the sky (southern winter solstice).
The tropics are areas of constant daylight and nighttime. There is no true season within the tropics - plants grow continuously without change, the weather is always hot and humid, and there are no seasons.
The Cancer Tropic is located 23.5 degrees north of the equator. The Tropic of Capricorn is 23.5 degrees south of the equator. The Antarctic circle is located 23.5 degrees south of the equator. Therefore, the Capricorn tropic is south of the antarctic circle.
Either of the two parallels of terrestrial latitude located approximately 231/2 degrees north or south of the equator, where the sun is directly overhead when it reaches its greatest northerly or southerly position in the sky—compare the tropics of cancer and capricorn. The word comes from Greek τρόπις (tropis), "turning," because the axis on which the earth turns around its center of mass is inclined by 23.5 degrees to the plane of the orbit.
In astronomy, the term tropical refers to regions near the equator that experience a majority of the planet's annual 24-hour day and year. Because the Earth's rotation is constant for both the northern and southern hemispheres, these are also the regions that see the most sunlight every day and year. Temperatures are generally higher than at other latitudes, with no real difference between the seasons.
Tropical climates are characterized by their extreme temperatures and frequent changes in weather patterns. There is very little variation in temperature over time, and this is what makes the climate so suitable for life. The only variations come from sudden changes in weather, such as hurricanes and tornados. These occur mostly in areas close to coasts or mountains, where air can move more easily.
The word "tropical" may also be used to describe plants or animals that are found in the tropics.