Published August 06, 2010
What images come to mind when you hear the phrase "The Dog Days of Summer"? This picture of my dog in his swimming pool is the first thing that pops into my mind. But what does a dog have to do with it? Nothing, really!
The Dog Days of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere is a period from about July 3 - August 11th. The name "Dog Days" comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, was somehow responsible for the hot weather. Sirius is the brightest star in the Canis Major (Big Dog) Constellation.
Sirius is the brightest star besides the Sun and rises and sets with the sun during the "Dog Days" period, so people believed that it helped contribute to warmer temperatures during this time.
Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the added radiation from a far-away star, regardless of its brightness. The heat of summer is a direct result of the earth's tilt.
Enjoy the Dog Days of Summer!
Image of dog in pool is courtesy of Flickr.