The dog days of summer are those muggy, sweltering days that you know you’ll spend more time laying out in the shade than actually going anywhere. But what exactly is this idiom and where does it come from?
The phrase, which has been around for centuries, is based on an ancient star named Sirius. This bright star is part of the constellation Canis Major, the “Greater Dog.”
Why is it called the dog days?
In ancient Rome and Greece, the dog days were a period of extreme heat that was associated with drought, fever, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, mad dogs, and bad luck. It was thought that the heliacal rising of Sirius, an astronomical star in the constellation Canis Major (also called the “Greater Dog”) caused this sultry weather.
The dog days of summer refer to the time between July 3 and August 11. During this time, the bright star Sirius rises and sets in conjunction with the sun, which is called the heliacal rising.
While the exact dates of the dog days vary depending on latitude and climate, they usually fall in late July or early August. However, due to the precession of the equinoxes (a gradual drifting of the constellations over time), it is possible for the dog days of summer to occur in other months of the year.
What is the star Sirius?
The star Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky and is part of the constellation Canis Major. It is a binary star system that consists of two stars, Sirius A and Sirius B, which are very close together.
What few people realize is that Sirius is actually the brightest star in all of space. It is twice as bright as the Sun, 25 times brighter than Jupiter and is only 8.6 light years away.
Sirius is also known as a "rainbow star," because it often changes colors and flickers when seen low in the sky. This is because it shines through the turbulence of Earth's atmosphere.
In ancient Greece, Romans and Egypt, Sirius was attributed to the dog days of summer (the hot weather) because it was believed to give off its own heat during that period. This led to the phrase 'dog days' being used. The word 'dog' comes from the Greek word seirios, meaning'scorching', so it is no surprise that the star was regarded as the star of scorching days in summer.
What are the dates of the dog days?
The term dog days has been around for a long time and is often used to describe the sultry, hot weather that comes with summer. But where did the phrase come from?
The phrase has actually been around for several millennia. It's been translated from Latin and has been around since the ancient Greeks and Romans.
However, the dates of these hot days have changed over the years. Today, we think of the dog days as a 40-day window beginning in July and ending in August.
These are the dates of the bright star Sirius, also known as the "dog star" in a constellation called Canis Major, which is the "greater dog."
The Sun rises and sets around the same time as Sirius during these "dog days". Early Romans believed that both the sun and the star gave off heat. The Sun's rays hit Earth at a more direct angle during this time, which makes the summer days extra toasty.
What are the symptoms of the dog days?
The dog days of summer run from July 3 to August 11, and they can be a dangerous time for your pet. The hot weather can cause your pet to overheat and experience dehydration, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke.
Thankfully, the dog days don’t have to be as scary for your pet as they are for you! There are a few simple steps you can take to help keep your pet cool and healthy during these summertime temperatures.
1.) Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water throughout the day. When it’s hot outside, your dog will need to drink more than usual to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration.
2.) Keep your dog off the hot pavement. As the pavement gets too hot, it can burn your dog’s paw pads.
3.) Always take your dog inside if they are overheating or experiencing any of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
While the dog days may not have anything to do with dogs, these five tips can help your pet survive the hottest days of summer. Enjoy your time with your furry friend this summer!